Posted by Stuart Bourne
Week 11 of vintage in the Barossa Valley has come to an end. We were finished last week but there are still a few parcels of fruit out there that other producers will be pulling in during this week and the next. This entry will not be my last, however. I will check back in next week to wrap it all up for you and sign off for the year.
Before I finish up this blog, I want to take the opportunity to ask if anyone out there in WineSpectator.com cyberspace has any questions at all regarding the Barossa Valley, our wines, the vintage or anything else for that matter. Now is your chance to put up a question while I still have the chance to get back to you. I look forward to being able to help out, if need be.
The major activity for us this week gone has been the Barossa Valley Vintage Festival. This huge regional event only happens every second year, and when it does, it is an absolute beauty. We as a region put on all sorts of events that revolve around wines, food, music and fun, with many of the producers of the valley hosting some sort of event.
This year, our major event at Barossa Valley Estate was to host the "Legends Behind the Barrel Tasting." We gathered up 30 of the local legendary winemakers and have them bring along current-release bottles of their best red wine (obviously there is a large amount of Shiraz in this mix) and let the consuming and discerning public come in and taste their best current-release wine, with a chance to sample directly from the barrel, a taste of the same wine, but still maturing in the barrel and not yet bottled. Most of us had a barrel from the 2008 vintage for people to try, and compared that to the 2005, 2006 or 2007 current release bottles. The 2008s would be bottled later this year, after their barrel maturation, so it is a chance to taste a work in progress, straight from the barrel, and speak to the winemaker about their wines.
Having 30 great winemakers, including Yalumba, St. Hallett, Dutschke, Whistler, Jim Irvine, Kaesler, John Duval, Bethany, Penfolds, Trevor Jones, Langmeil, Elderton, Gibson, ourselves and the like (I haven’t named them all as the list is quite long) present in one room, all armed and dangerous with barrels and bottles of our best, is a sight to behold (hence "The Legends Behind the Barrel”). Shown here is just a snapshot of this great event. The next photo is of our barrel hall, with all of the barrels from each producer lined up for the public to come in and try. I don’t think there are too many great wine regions out there, that put on such a great set of local events like the Barossa Vintage Festival, with tastings such as this, where you can come and taste wines straight from barrel, meet the winemakers, all in one room, and sample their world acclaimed wines.
|Richard Langford of Elderton Wines|
|Kevin Glastonbury of Yalumba Wines|
I don’t know too many wine regions around the world that have such a strong sense of region, place and purpose, which we hold in higher regard than our individual brands. I think the success we have seen as a region is not just due to our established vineyards, our great climate, our soils and topography, but also because the people of the Barossa Valley firmly believe in our magnificent region and all of us see ourselves as ambassadors for a region first, and a brand second.
The other gem of an event I got to go and have a look at for the festival this week was the Vintage Festival parade. This year there were over 100 individual floats in the parade, which starts at the town of Nuriootpa, and winds its way down the main road toward the town of Tanunda, where it finishes. The whole journey takes almost two hours, as the procession moves slowly along the road. People line the entire route, set up with tables, chairs, umbrellas and barbecues. Everyone makes a big day of it. We dragged out our old 1930s Chevy winery truck for it, and joined the parade. This event is a must-see for any visitor to the Barossa during Vintage Festival. These few photos of some of the old trucks and the like do no justice to the whole procession. What a sight it was to behold!
|Vintage trucks are one of the Vintage Festival parade attractions.|
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