Barossa's Table: Charlie Melton, Jacob's Creek and Peter Lehmann

4/22/2011 12:22:00 AM

Hello everybody!  Did y'all know that the Barossa Vintage Festival is starting up this Saturday, 23rd April?  It's a huge festival celebrating all things Barossan - especially food and wine!  There are heaps of great events on!  I'm absolutely gutted that I can't make it over this year, but I'm definitely hoping to visit for the next one!

To mark the beginning of the Vintage Festival, today's post is going to be all about Barossa wine!  I'll tell you about my visits to Charles Melton, Jacob's Creek and Peter Lehmann.

Charles Melton

We visited Charlie early on a Wednesday morning (you can see from my itinerary it was a rather wine-filled day!), and took a walk around the vineyard and the production area.

Charlie is one of the great characters of the Barossa, and he summarised the winemaking process very simply: "Grapes and yeast turn into alcohol and carbon monoxide". Ta-dah!  Using this principle, you could technically make wine at home in a bucket, (and I'm pretty sure people still do), but I don't know how good it would taste!

If you visit at lunchtime, they serve up some lovely lunches of tarts, pies, rillette and cheese platters on the verandah.  (Menu here).  We were a little too early for lunch, so just (just!) cracked open a bottle of Brut Peche sparkling.

Aah... elevenses!
Love this pic of the wine with Charlie drinking in the background! 

Jacob's Creek

Next stop on our agenda was the Jacob's Creek, which is definitely one of the larger wineries in the Barossa.  The Jacob's Creek cellar door actually won the award for the best Major Tourism Attraction at the South Australian Tourism Awards 3 years running, beating other attractions like the Adelaide Zoo, the Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience and the Adelaide Casino!  Good work guys!

Ooh... shiny

We were here for the Sensory Experience, an activity which they've just launched.  It is an "is an interactive workshop that helps increase your knowledge and enjoyment of the complexities of wine through sensory analysis."

I won't go through all the steps we took in detail, because I don't want to spoil the experience if you do end up going, but suffice to say we certainly used every item on that tray!  The wines in question were the Reserve Riesling 2010, Reserve Chardonnay 2009, Reserve Pinot Noir 2009, Reserve Shiraz 2007 and a mystery wine in the black glass.

The session was run by the incredibly knowledgeable Sasha, (AKA "Sasha-paedia"). He took us through some basics of how our tastebuds and smell receptors work, the types of flavours and aromas you can expect from different wines, and of course, some guided tastings.

It was actually at this tasting that I learnt that I like white wines with stronger secondary characteristics (e.g. oak, butter etc.), rather than ones with a more dominant fruity taste. So there you go!  More aged chardonnay, please!
For me, the most interesting part of the session was the food-and-wine matching portion.  We were given two plates of food and sauces (below), with a mixture of different flavours and textures, and got to try tasting them with the different wines.  Such a great way to figure out what flavour combos work for you!

The Sensory Experience costs $30 per person, and is run by appointment for groups of 10 or more.  I'd definitely recommend it if you enjoy wine and want to expand your knowledge - it was a fun, interactive experience and I learned heaps about wine tasting and matching food to wine.

Sasha came up to me after the Sensory Experience - he'd read my entry post for the Barossa's Table competition, and suggested that a Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre blend wine would have been a better match for my meal.  He said it would have complemented the saltiness from the prosciutto and the sweetness from the root vegetables.  Will have to try the meal again with a good GSM!

Following the Sensory Experience, we had lunch in Jacob's Restaurant.

The Jacob's Restaurant menu changes seasonally, and I couldn't find a copy of the summer menu on their website, so I'm afraid I'm gonna have to go by memory for the following dishes!  (The current Autumn menu will give you an idea of the types of food they serve and the prices).

Fish, fried in a sparkling-wine batter
I ordered the fish (fried in a sparkling wine batter), and it was delicious!  Very fresh, with a light and crispy batter.

Grilled halloumi with peaches, pistachio and rocket

Roast duck (with my apologies for the poor description!)

Mmm... fries

Traditional Potato Salad

Peter Lehmann

Our final morning in the Barossa was spent at the Peter Lehmann winery, where we were treated to a personal wine tasting and a wonderful lunch.  Linda Parbs, the lovely function manager, took us around and shared the Peter Lehmann story with us.

Cellar Door

Photos of Peter Lehmann and the grape growers 

Does this next painting look familiar?  This lady adorns the label of the '08 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Peter and Marg Lehmann are big art collectors, and they commission local artists to create paintings for their Barossa Art Series collection, based on the theme of the Queen of Clubs.  The Queen of Clubs, or 'Gambler's card', represents the great gamble that Peter Lehmann took when founding the winery in 1979.  It's a gamble that's certainly paid off!

We then had a private tasting, which included 9 wines (!) across the different ranges.

The wines included the flagship 2006 Stonewell Shiraz and the 2006 Black Queen Sparkling Shiraz.  I never used to be into sparkling Shiraz, but my trip to the Barossa has totally converted me!  Apparently sparkling shiraz with bacon and eggs is a "Barossa Brunch".  Mmm... how good does that sound?!  Linda also cracked open a Pinot Noir Chardonnay Cuvée for us to try too - I can never say no to sparkling wine!

Peter Lehmann Wines Cellar Door offer a range of different private wine tasting experiences - take a look at their website for details and fees.

After all that tasting, it was time for lunch!  We shared the famous Weighbridge Platter, which includes great produce from all over the Barossa.
Weighbridge Platter - $30
Weighbridge Platter
Linke's Lachsshinken & Mettwurst
Zimmys Dill Cucumber
Olives - Relish - Almonds
Matured Cheese
Lyndoch Bakery Bread

The lunch was complemented with a rose, which was perfect in the warm weather.  (Only a tiny sip for me, as I was driving to the airport straight from the winery.  And in case you're wondering, yes, I did spit most the wine from the tasting.  Drink responsibly guys!)

A quick walk around the gardens, and it was time for us to head off.  Big thanks to Linda for a lovely morning!

Still to come in my Barossa wine posts... Te Aro Estate, Teusner Wines and Henschke!

Sarah visited Charles MeltonJacob's Creek and Peter Lehmann as a guest of Tourism Barossa, as part of the prize for winning the Barossa's Table competition.

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  1. The tasting at Jacob's creek looks like a great thing to do. I love it when you learn something from wineries rather than just randomly sampling wine. The platter looks amazing too!



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