Singapore Trip 2014
Singapore Trip 2014
Singapore Trip 2014
Singapore Trip 2014
Singapore Trip 2014
Singapore Trip 2014
Singapore Trip 2014
View All Photos
04
Dec
2007

Adelaide – Day 4 : Barossa

a glass half there

Now to the final words on Adelaide, and what a time it was. This day sees us in that holy land of wine country… the Barossa valley. So often lauded as Australia’s greatest wine growing region, and I can now see why… Which is of course because everyone from the Barossa keeps telling you that so often, you eventually start to believe it :)

However, there is something about the Barossa and the people of the Barossa Valley area that is very unique. They are bound together in their love of food, wine, and the life gastronomic. Many times throughout the day of travelling through wineries, tasting delicious wines, did I hear stories about how people in the Barossa stick together. There was no bad mouthing of other wineries, and a helpful suggestion of other places in the area who we should definitely go and check out was often offered. Having been a fan of the tv show “The Cook and the Chef” for a while now, I’d been making stupid jokes about dropping in to have lunch with Maggie Beer (as well as how she can’t go 5 minutes without mentioning how much she loves the Barossa Valley), but I should probably have shut my mouth. Not only did I meet someone who sang in the local choir with her, but her daughter (who runs a catering company) was setting up for a cellar door managers dinner at one of our last stops of the day. It’s two degrees of separation in that neck of the woods. Cocky food bloggers beware, or there’ll be a Beer Lynching squad after you in no time… :)

So we whisked our way through Trevor Jones / Kellermeister wines, Charles Melton, Rockfords (managing to snag a tasting of the Basket Press Shiraz), Rolf Binder / Veritas (meeting Rolf the wine maker and purchasing a bottle of his Hanisch Shiraz), and finally Torbreck.

The lineup

My impression of the day and the wines can be summarised in one simple statement.

“Shiraz is not just shiraz”

The quality and depth of flavour from the different styles we tried was remarkably varied across all the wines we tried, which was barely a smattering of the wineries the Barossa has to offer. From spicey and peppery styles to smoother more fruit driven styles of the cooler Eden Valley, there really was something for everyone.

My only regret being that I didn’t have enough time or enough money to get all the wines I wanted. But with a few essentials under our belts (mainly the Charles Melton Nine Popes), it was a wonderful day. Very nearly surpassed by a great night to follow.

Rockfords 2005 Basket Press Shiraz The tasting room at Rockfords  The lineup Charles Melton Barrels Rolf Binder Wine Tasting Serena Melting Pot a glass half there Contemplation  Chorizo from Apothecary Apothecary 1878 Apothecary 1878 Apothecary 1878 

So following up on more website comments and suggestions, we’d given Melting Pot a call earlier in the day to try and get a reservation for Saturday night. Unfortunately they were completely booked that night, and so it looked like we were going to miss out. I figured I might try and put on my important / desperate voice for one last try though, and on calling back, found out there was a table for 2 available for that evening, Friday night. We booked it in, and hastily made our way back from the Barossa to be dropped ever so graciously by Serena (our chauffeur and future wine connoisseur) right out the front, and just in time.

Melting Pot

Melting Pot is hard to describe. I suppose you’d have to settle on Modern Australian (whatever that means) if you needed to find a label. The menu is centred around the degustation style that so many haute cuisine restaurants prefer these days, with matched wines for each course. We chose a 6 course tasting menu with wine, and a few extras thrown in for good measure.

Now while I’d love to write a glowing review about how every dish was a fantastic revelation of culinary amazement. The sad reality was that the majority of the courses were average at best, and just strange at worst. The popcorn quail in particular (which featured actual popcorn strewn across the plate, along with some “popcorn” quail pieces, reminiscent of KFC’s efforts at using up the left overs).

The wine matched with each course was mostly nice, though we’d been far too spoilt over the last three days of oenophilic
indulgence to get a lot of enjoyment out of run of the mill wines. Plus a day of tasting intense Shiraz had left my palate cleft of all love for subtle light wines that chefs like to serve with their dishes.

Still, by the end of the 4th course things were starting to pick up. The culmination of wines throughout the day and with each course started to work it’s magic, and as a light headed fuzzy feeling of mild intoxication came over me, everything started to taste a whole lot better.

By the end of the meal we were quite merry indeed, and can honestly say we enjoyed the experience. Though perhaps not as fully as I was hoping for.

The night still being young however, we decided to try our luck getting a taxi into the city and checking out the other “must go to” place on my list, Apothecary 1878.

Apothecary 1878

Now if you’re familiar with Adelaide, you’ll know all too well what Hindley Street is known for. It’s essentially the nightclub, late night, red light, anything goes district in the city centre. Bars, pubs, and clubs are full of people who have had too much to drink, and not enough clothes to wear.

So coming across a place like Apothecary, in the midst of the debauchery that is the rest of the street on a Friday night, was like a breath of fresh air. Walking in to what seemed like near silence, as the door closed behind us and our eyes adjusted to the subdued lighting and the relaxed mood that only truly cool places can so effortlessly attain.

The name comes from the fact that the place is fitted out to look like an 1800′s style chemist. All of the cabinets and bar had actually been bought and shipped over from the UK, so they do actually date back to 1878. No ikea style renovations for these guys.

The wine list was similarly impressive. Around 20 pages or so of every major style and region around the world. With plenty there to keep the wine geek in me flipping back and forth for a good 10 minutes before finally settling on something. If you live in Adelaide, you had better be making the most of this place, because it really deserves it.

Chorizo from Apothecary

But wait.. what’s that you said.. you serve food too ? Well, we have just had a 6 course meal with wine, and dessert… but what the hell, lets have a look. So after another couple of glasses of wine, some meatballs, chorizo, and olive tapas dishes, another chocolate pudding for Sharon, and a couple of glasses of sparkling wine, we concluded what was possibly the most gastronomically extravagant days of my life.

Before I could start thinking about whether it was possible or reasonable to have three dinners in one evening, fatigue start to set in. Still, it was a great day, and great night, and a wonderful trip all round to Adelaide, with some very memorable experiences with good wine, good food, and good friends.

Kara and Paul were married on Saturday to a wonderful reception. I didn’t cry once… but some dust may have got into my eye at one point. Anything is possible in Adelaide.

Print This Post Print This Post

9 Responses to “Adelaide – Day 4 : Barossa” (945 views)

  1. What a wonderful day indeed. And the indulgence, both gastronomical and alcoholic.

    I tend not to like a Shiraz either as it’s usually a bit strong. I like a lighter Pinot or Cabernet Sauvignon. But lately, I’ve tried more and more Shiraz and I do like some.

    KFC style chicken is good occasionally, when it’s at KFC prices. But in a fancy restaurant, that just sounds so wrong.

    December 4, 2007 at 6:36 pm Reply
  2. hongshai

    Welcome to my site : chinese food more . com THS ^o^

    December 5, 2007 at 1:36 am Reply
  3. What an excellent visit you must have had. Have heard so much about Apothecary, so good to read your thoughts of the place. What did you think about the Basket Press?

    December 5, 2007 at 8:38 am Reply
  4. Thanks Thanh, we had a great trip. My theory is that if you base your entire holiday around eating and drinking well, then you can’t go too far wrong. You should definitely get into some more Shiraz though, there’s so much to like.

    Hongshai… welcome to my site :) which is where your edited piece of spam now points.

    Edward: Yes Apothecary was great. Think Must Wine Bar without the pretentious wankers (like me), and the noise. If there was a place like that in Northbridge I’d be there every other night.

    The basket press was superb. I don’t have your skills for describing flavours as yet, but i’d say plum, leather, and blackberry all play a big part, with a nice long lingering finish. I’m hoping to get some when the new release comes out (if I haven’t missed out already).

    December 5, 2007 at 10:34 am Reply
  5. Zamina

    What a day at the Barossa. I am SO envious. What did you try at Torbreck? Run Rig? yum Yum YUM.

    Shame about Melting Pot tho’ – I had hoped for more from them. It was a different chef at the time I worked there (some 5 years ago). Although by the sounds of things, ultimately you had a great day nicely finished with Apothecary.

    Btw, only 9 sleeps ’til I head back for my fix – in the flesh! Yay :)

    December 5, 2007 at 10:52 am Reply
  6. Hey Zams,

    Barossa was indeed great. Torbreck in particular surprised me because they had tastings of everything (!) So we did indeed try the Run rig… which was superlative… but at $270 / bottle, not in my price range. I did buy a bottle of the Struie though, which is a mix of Eden Valley and Barossa fruit, and wonderfully complex.

    Melting Pot was a little bit disappointing, but then I’ve had much worse experiences. The service was great, the setting was nice, but the food seemed to be trying a bit too hard. There were foams and mousses (moussce?) that seemed to be there for no apparently reason other than to seem interesting.

    Apothecary was a great way to finish off though. Looking forward to hearing about your turn :)

    December 5, 2007 at 11:10 am Reply
  7. such beautiful pictures as always, wow!

    December 6, 2007 at 10:56 am Reply
  8. Very hard to get the new release Basket Press unless you have been on the mailing list for a very long time. I have some 1999 BP tucked away. Let me know when you create some amazing new small good and we can do a swap! My 3 year old is rather keen on parma ham. . .

    December 6, 2007 at 3:27 pm Reply
  9. Thanks so much Aria :)

    Ed: I’ve got some friends who are Stone Wallers… So I’m hoping to go in with them next release… Though I do remember what a keen ham lover your young one is… so I’ll keep the small goods swappery in mind :)

    December 6, 2007 at 8:45 pm Reply

Leave a Reply

More in Eating Out, Photography, Travel, Wine (65 of 121 articles)