Situated just 70km north east of Adelaide, the Barossa is home to a number of Australia’s iconic wines, especially world class Shiraz and Riesling, and it boasts some of the oldest Shiraz vines and vineyard soils in the world. The Barossa zone itself consists of two regions: Barossa Valley and Eden Valley. The lower altitude Barossa Valley (sometimes called the "Barossa floor") is warmer, drier and with deeper soils it is ideally suited to growing intense full bodied Shiraz. The higher altitude Eden Valley (also called "Barossa ranges") is a cooler climate with shallow rock weathered soils that produce outstanding Riesling.
The Barossa is typified by gentle rolling hills and valleys and is considered a warm temperate climate for viticulture. This climate ensures warm dry days with plenty of sunshine throughout summer and relatively cool nights. This means that the vines experience healthy conditions for vigour during the growing season, and enough sun to achieve full tannin and flavour ripeness as well as intensely flavoured grapes. Meanwhile the cooler night time temperatures preserve vibrancy of colour and flavour as well promoting the retention of natural acidity, giving Barossa wines their excellent reputations as high quality wines that are worthy of cellaring.
Shiraz is another grape variety with its origins in France and is the most popular and widely planted grape variety in Australia. It consistently produces outstanding medium to full-bodied wines, deep crimson in colour and with rich, ripe plum and blackberry fruit flavours. A vigorous vine, it grows well in most Australian regions, but the style and flavours of Shiraz wines are strongly influenced by the climate in which the grapes are grown. Cooler climates produce leaner Shiraz wines with black pepper and savoury notes and elegant tannins; warmer climates produce intense Shiraz wines with ripe fruit flavours and notes of spice, licorice or chocolate with soft tannins. Shiraz wines benefit from oak maturation and some may be kept for many years. The Barossa Valley is home to many of the famous Shiraz wines from Australia. The synonym ‘Syrah’ is often be used in other wine producing countries.
Another grape variety with its origins in France, it has only recently become popular in Australia. Merlot, when grown in most of Australia's warmer regions, is characterised by its deep purple colour, intense plum and black fruit flavours with rose-petal aroma and velvety soft tannins on the palate. Historically, Merlot has been blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to produce a softer easy drinking wine, however single varietal Merlot red wines are now becoming more common. Approachable yet flavourful, Merlot wines are a great style of wine to serve as an introduction to the pleasures of red wine.
Riesling is one of the classic white varieties of the world, historically grown in France and Germany. It can be made in dry or sweet styles, although most Australian Riesling tends to be bone-dry, meaning very little sweetness on the palate. Riesling is believed to be the first vines planted and first wines made by our founder Johann Gramp, and was at the heart of a winemaking revolution in the 1950s when Johann's great-grandson Colin Gramp used new techniques to make fresh fruit driven wines in a style that later came to define modern Australian wine. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety, producing wonderfully perfumed wines. When grown in slightly cooler conditions, such as Eden Valley region within the Barossa, it produces elegant complex wines with crisp lemon-lime flavours, white floral aromas and steely mineral notes. In slightly warmer conditions such as on the Barossa Valley floor, a fuller, richer Riesling wine results. It’s usually enjoyed when young, fresh and zesty, but the best Australian Rieslings can develop over a decade or more into lovely aged wines with gorgeous honeysuckle, toasty notes.
Rieslings may be served as an aperitif, but are equally attractive when served with lightly flavoured foods, seafood dishes in particular. Eden Valley, Barossa Valley and Clare Valley are renowned for this variety.