This week I’m concentrating on wines from Australia; South Australia to be precise. At one time or another I’ve worked at various wineries around the state and I can honestly say that not only are the locals some of the most friendly, welcoming and down to earth people you could meet, they also enjoy living in one of the most beautiful parts of that vast country. Most of the quality winemaking areas in South Australia lie between the capital Adelaide and Port Augusta, just a couple of hundred miles up the road. In 1996 Bob Berton established a winery in the Eden Valley which produces a superb range of wines across all price levels. Of particular value in my opinion is the 2011 Boundary Line Shiraz, made with grapes from a selection of vineyard sites across the state and masterfully blended by James Ceccato. It is a rich yet gentle shiraz with notes of damson fruit on the palate with hints of cherry, spice and a sprinkling of white pepper. It goes really well with red meat and pasta dishes.
If you’re talking about wine and South Australia you have to mention Peter Lehmann – veteran winemaker, local hero and all-round top bloke! After events back in 1979, many of the smaller growers in the Barossa Valley owe their livelihoods to him. His wines are great examples of what the region can produce and one of my favourites is the Margaret Semillon, named after his delightful wife and made with great skill by chief winemaker Andrew Wigan. This 2006 wine was from the biggest and one of the best vintages in the company’s history. It has won numerous trophies and gold medals at competitions around the world, is wonderfully drinkable yet has the power to age for many years. Flavours of honeysuckle, lanolin, citrus and beeswax abound here, and the wine has elegant and restrained acidity to add structure. This is a limited release wine – well worth investing in a few bottles before it all goes.