Barossa beer and wine

That’s Maggie Beer but real wine. Majella had planned a full day excursion to the Barossa Valley for our last day in the Adelaide region.

I worked late last night to process photos but was awake at 6:00 am. I thought briefly about going for a walk but soon abandoned that idea and rolled over until closer to 7:00 am when I got up for breakfast. After breakfast I dealt with some email and by 9:00 am we were aboard the van and on our way to the Barossa Valley. Majella had decided we should go via the slower more scenic route and return by the quickest available track.

We headed first to Lyndoch via Gawler and then toward Nuriootpa. Our booking for a cooking demonstration at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop was for 11:00 am. We would need coffee before that but were hesitant to stop short lest we be delayed. Instead we pressed on, assuming there would be coffee at the venue and there was.

Our arrival around 10:45 am was noted by Curtis, the manager and our demonstrating cook, who noted that we were early. Majella assured him that we needed coffee first and he continued with his preparations while we had coffee. We sat at a bench against the windows overlooking the pond and soon after were asked if we would mind having a photo taken. Evidently the bench was new and we were the first to use it.

Once we were caffeinated our demonstration began. We watched as Curtis sautéed mushrooms in butter with verjuice, a traditional cooking ingredient revived and popularised by Maggie under her brand. In the oven behind he had a tray of bite size pumpkin pieces and another of onion but in eighths with the skins left on. They had mostly cooked while he was working on the mushrooms so he took them out and drizzled the pumpkin with verjuice and the onion with vincotto, another traditional ingredient being promoted under Maggie’s brand. Both were returned to the oven to finish while Curtis talked about Maggie and her work before we were invited to devour what had been cooked.

Maggie Beer cookWe enjoyed the food from the demonstration and then moved on to explore the rest of the store. There was a variety of Maggie Beer products, sauces, salad dressings, pastes, jams, and more. All were tasty though some with chilli were more challenging. Majella bought a cook book with recipes that are claimed to ward off dementia and some tasty eats.

Tasty as the food from the demonstration and the store samples were, they were not enough to sustain us for the day, especially when we were expecting to be late home. We went in search of lunch in nearby Nuriootpa where we found the Vine Inn. We enjoyed substantial lunches that we expected to forestall any need for more than a light snack for dinner.

Chateau TanundaAfter lunch we drove back through Tanunda to visit Chateau Tanunda. We enjoyed the grounds and formal gardens in front of the building before visiting the cellar door. A few of us tasted some wines and Jim arranged some purchases from the bargain barrel for later consumption.

SeppeltsfieldNext stop was Seppeltsfield where we had been advised to go for tasting fortified wines. There we looked at some colourful artwork in the Jam Factory gallery and found the Vasse Virgin display where we tasted some olive products and Majella bought some macadamia pesto that we will have with pasta for dinner one night soon. Majella and I tasted some fortified wines and she especially enjoyed the Refreshingly Ruby wine based on Grenache. We found out later that Jim, and possibly others, had skipped the tasting because they had misunderstood Majella’s description and thought it was fortified only.

Teusner WineryOur last stop for the day was at Teusner Wines. Julian Bermingham, son of our parish leader, Michael, works there and is studying to be a wine maker. Majella had been in contact with him and arranged to meet him at the end of the working day for a tour of the winery. We arrived and Majella called Julian who came out to greet us and led us on a tour of the operation. A small group tour with a personal connection afforded us a much closer view of a winery than would be possible otherwise. We gained a personal perspective and were able to ask questions as we went.

At the end of our tour, Julian took us into the barrel room and treated us to a well informed tasting of 6 wines with a bonus surprise. We began with a refreshing Empress Eden Valley Riesling and then moved on to reds which are main Barossa product. The Joshua unwooded GSM (Grenache Shiraz Mataro) was followed by the Avatar which is essentially the same wine with up to 2 years on oak. We then enjoyed a series of three Shiraz wines, the Riebke, Biltmore, and Albert, with ascending quality and intensity. All were very enjoyable. As a finale, Julian produced a bottle of MC Sparkling Shiraz and even those who had not been excited by reds enjoyed that. It was a special favourite for Majella.

We thanked Julian for his excellent hospitality, hopped back in the van, and headed for Adelaide. Dinner was salad sandwiches with cheese and a glass of wine for those who wanted it. Tomorrow will be an early start as we leave here to drive 2 hours south and catch a ferry to Kangaroo Island.