The Barossa Valley Vs McLaren Vale....
We at Wine Brothers have fallen in love with South Australia. It could be the beaches, it could be the long lunches, or it simply could be the bloody good wine. We thought about writing an article. That didn't work well. Then we thought about getting an expert. That was too serious. Then we called Sam (who, despite popular belief, is a professional journalist, but the cool kind), and here we are....
South Australian wine is some of the best in the world and for good reason, with the state offering a host of different regions each with different growing conditions.
But as good as it is (or at least most of it), it still pays to know where to source your favourite variety to ensure you get just what you’re after.
The reality is that most of us just want to be able to grab a drinkable bottle of reasonably priced plonk without having to think too hard about it.
Wine Brothers have gone to great lengths to create a collection of direct-sourced, small-batch wines that showcase the best of what SA has to offer.
The Barossa Valley, the McLaren Vale, the Clare Valley and Coonawarra are all household names in the world of wine, with each area famous for different drops due to subtle changes in climate.
They all do a top notch wine tour also, which – if done right – is a must if you want to get to the bottom of what makes SA’s wine regions tick.
Wine Brothers currently specialises in wine from the McLaren Vale, the Adelaide Hills and the Eden Valley, with plans to expand their catalogue to include more of SA and eventually other areas of Australia.
While each of the states wine regions are outstanding in their own right, the Barossa is the most well-known on a world scale and for good reason, with the region offering a wide range of varieties.
If it’s a full-bodied Shiraz, a Grenache or a Cabernet Sauvignon you’re after, look no further, while you don’t have to go far – just over the hill to Eden Valley – to source a world-class Riesling (such as the ever-popular Long Yarn Riesling on the Wine Brothers catalogue, for example).
“It’s such a tiny valley and you’ve got such a dense population of grapevines,” says Leigh Underwood, national sales manager at Barossa-based winery Soul Growers.
“It’s such a small area and within that small area, we have such a diverse range of growing conditions, and therefore flavour profiles, which set the Barossa apart on a world scale. It’s the pinnacle of the Australian wine regions.”
While Undies (who will tell you he’s not at all biased) weighs in with a pretty good argument for why the Barossa is the best the state has to offer, McLaren Vale is one region in particular that is hot on its heels.
Wine Brothers sources many of their red wines from the McLaren Vale and according to Jess Hardy - head winemaker at Five O’clock Somewhere - the region is forging forward in a hurry.
“McLaren Vale is at the forefront of varietal, site and clonal experimentation and there’s no doubt the vineyards respond well to a conscious hand and the wines coming off them are the best yet,” Jess says.
“My favourite varieties are those which lend themselves to ‘making themselves’. Mataro and Grenache stand out for their fragrance and medium-bodied appearance, yet both have amazing power and longevity if grown well. They come in a vast array of styles reflected by the many subregional soil profiles of McLaren Vale, which means there is a style to please all palates.”
As far as white wines go, Jess predicts Albarino, Fiano and Vermentino to lead the way in the future.
“Lots of people are talking about these as they seem to suit our Mediterranean climate and cool sea breezes,” she says.
“Between these three whites I think we’ll find the regions next flag bearer.”
While the future is never certain, if one thing is for sure it is that you can rest assured that no matter how quickly the likes of McLaren Vale move ahead with all sorts of weird and wonderful varieties, Wine Brothers will be on hand to bring you the best of them.
Stay tuned for more region-specific information as Wine Brothers extend their reach throughout the great state of SA.
By Sam Agars
(Award winning wine drinker and part-time journalist)