Sunday, May 15, 2016

Adelaide and the Barossa Valley

We've been in Adelaide, just briefly, enjoying some contemporary opera and other delights in the city, and an overnight stay in the Barossa Valley.

My work colleague, Don Bemrose, won a lead role in the SA State Opera Company's production of Tim Winton's "Cloudstreet". It's world premiere was on Thursday night. We made it down to Adelaide after an early start on Friday morning to see the second performance. "Cloudstreet" the book was my introduction to the wonderful writing of Tim Winton and it was amazing to see its rough Australian edges (and warm heart and Indigenous spirits) interpreted as a contemporary opera. Don was amazing as "Bob Crab" whose character set the scene for the whole production and remained the link to its spiritual heart. Wonderful stuff!

 We had a celebration drink after the show with Don and his good friend Janelle!
We weren't in the city for long but what we saw was impressive - from our very quiet and classy Hilton Hotel overlooking Victoria Square, to the rich foodie scene at  the nearby Adelaide Central Markets and all those wide avenues and old sandstone buildings in between. We found time to indulge in some beautiful cheeses from the Markets and a bottle of Barossa Shiraz (of course) before the performance (virtually over the road from the Hilton at Her Majesty's).

After all the excitement of the performance and a very late night we didn't get going Saturday morning until after 10.00am, heading North out of the city and then NE along the M20 towards the beautiful Barossa Valley Wine Region, only a bit over an hour's drive out of Adelaide.

We were ready for an early lunch by the time we got to Maggie Beer's famous Farm Shop in Pheasant Farm Road Nuriootpa (try saying that quickly). It was just as well we were hungry as the Farm Shop Cafe serves up generous, flavour packed dishes in hearty servings. We enjoyed our introduction to the Maggie and Colin Beer empire, the site of their original pheasant and quail farm, her first restaurant and the vineyards and orchards that are the source of her Maggie Beer food empire now.

 These are Colin's Shiraz plantings (Beer Brothers Wines).

 ...and their Frantoia olive trees....

Maggie Beer does wonderful things with her quince orchards - but I was a bit alarmed by the spectacular fungus growing on most of the trees near the Farm Shop.

There were pheasants and quails and ducks and chooks of every size and colour at the Beer's farm - but I was most impressed with these ring necked pheasants from China!

Afterwards We dropped off our growing collection of Barossa Valley goodies at our motel in Nuriootpa (perfectly fine accommodation but a bit of a come down after the Hilton) before heading off again, this time down the Barossa Valley Way past the picturesque vineyards and myriad cellar doors that line the road between Nuriootpa and the Southern outskirts of Tanunda. 

We chose to stop at Elderton's and St Hallett's cellar doors, both old Barossa wineries providing generous tastings of their rich local Shirazes and some varietals. As Rob was driving it was my responsibility to taste as much as I could  on his behalf.

I really enjoyed the very special 2012 St Hallett Old Block Shiraz (98 points James Halliday) - grapes from old Barossa Valley and Eden Valley vines - and with Rob's encouragement bought a bottle to open for my BIG birthday later this year.

We ended off a self indulgent, lovely day with a Bee Sting beer (a beer chaser for me after all the wine tastings!) and a little live music at the Barossa Valley Brewing and Brasserie near Heinemann Park on the outskirts of Tanunda.

We had a lazy start this morning. A delicious, unhurried breakfast at the very cute and retro "Nosh" in Tanunda.......
......before heading back to the M20 and Adelaide airport via the old  Gomersal Road, past the endless vineyards of all the big old Barossa wineries (Seppeltsfields and Jacob's Creek being amongst the biggest). We stopped off at one of the newest wineries: Pindarie with all its new(ish) vines, but still a very old farming property on the Western Ridge of the beautiful Barossa Valley, complete with an old stone homestead from the 1890s, a picturesque cellar door and some of the prettiest resident sheep you could ever imagine.. Pindarie has won a lot of tourist awards for its restaurant and cellar door...and we could see why...but it was just a bit too early in the day for us to do any tastings....maybe next time!!

This was such a tiny taster of what this amazing wine region has to offer - next time we're coming back for a week at least!!

1 comment:

rossie l said...

Another fabulous place to put on our list. Love Maggie Beer. Great pics Jude. How noble of you to have to do the tastings. x