Kies Family Wines is located between Gawler and Tanunda on the Barossa Valley Highway in the town of Lyndoch in the heart of the Barossa Valley wine region. The Kies family have been growing grapes in the Barossa Valley for seven generations. Tina and Michael Kies opened the Kies Family Wines cellar door in January 1985 on a rather blistering forty degrees day. Thirty years on and our trip to Kies Family Wines was on a somewhat similar hot Summer’s day… albeit a few degrees cooler. In 2006 Kies expanded and opened Monkey Nut Cafe, a great accompaniment to the cellar door, serving breakfast, light meals, homemade cakes, tea/coffee, and you guessed it… their wines. The café itself is nestled amongst the picturesque Kies vineyard and has a very relaxed and homely vibe.
If you are lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the famous Monkey Nut tree on top of the range. The café is family friendly offering a kids menu and a ‘TV nook’ complete with couches where the kiddies can ‘hide-away’ whilst the parents enjoy a quiet meal and a glass or two of wine. Adjoining Monkey Nut and the cellar door is a small tea shop selling Kies Teas. Despite not being a tea drinker myself some of the more unique tea flavours caught my eye; take for instance ‘Pina Colada’, ‘Sticky Toffee Pudding’ and the intriguing ‘Golden Monkey’. In addition to a diverse range of teas, you will find a collection of teapots and other tea paraphernalia, novelty gifts and trinkets.
To begin our Kies experience we sampled some of Kies wines in the 1880’s cottage-style cellar door. The range on offer included white, red and sweet white wine varieties. We began with a tasting of the 2015 Hill Block Riesling, a classic dry Barossa Riesling with rich citrus aromas and a perfect subtle sweetness on the palate. This white is very light and refreshing and great for summer drinking.
Next we jumped straight into the red varieties and given that the Barossa Valley is a world-renowned producer of some of Australia’s finest Shiraz wines we sampled the 2014 Klauber Block Shiraz. This big red is made exclusively from the older, more mature Lyndoch Estate vines nestled close to the cellar door and has rich cherry tones and plum flavours. We also tasted the 2013 White Barossa, a late-harvest Semillon-Riesling blend offering luscious fruity flavours with a sweet aftertaste that is somewhat balanced by a crisp refreshing finish. However, we both found this blend a little too sweet. Kies offer many more wines for tastings, with the likes of a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Deer Stalker Merlot, Chaff Mill Cabernet Sauvignon and Sparkling Heysen Gold, but being responsible drivers we opted to end the tastings here and select a glass of wine each to enjoy with our local produce platter in the Monkey Nut Cafe. Given that the Hill Block Riesling is recommended for pairing with a cheese plate, Mrs K chose a glass of this, whilst being a Shiraz lover myself I chose the Klauber Block Shiraz.
Stepping into Monkey Nut Cafe we were presented with their namesake Monkey Nut Platter for two; a large plate teeming with colourful local produce goodness. There were mini red wine damper rolls with rosemary, Zimmy’s pickled onion spread which was sweet and tangy and tasted just like French onion soup, crunchy tart gherkins, Mersey Valley vintage cheddar cheese, camembert, locally-sourced mettwurst, ham-off-the-bone and prosciutto, Zimmy’s beetroot spread with earthy tones, Renegade’s sundried tomato and cream cheese dip, all teamed with olives, roasted capsicum, water crackers and Lavosh crispbread on a bed of mesclun greens. What was noticeable was Monkey Nut’s attention to particular dietary requirements with the gourmet platter containing multiple vegetarian and gluten-free options. I loved the entire platter as a whole, the flavours and textures worked seamlessly together and matched with our favourite glasses of Kies wine made for a divine afternoon treat.
Kies wines range in price from $15 to $45 and can be purchased from the cellar door between 9am – 4pm seven days a week, or online for the less adventurous; whilst Monkey Nut Cafe is open 9:30am – 4pm Wednesday through to Monday, where the meals will set you back on average $15 to $20 with the Monkey Nut Platter for two being the most expensive, but worthy, menu item at $35. The café conveniently also offers a similar platter for one for a reduced price. Next time you are in the Barossa Valley stop and visit Kies Family Wines, there really is something for everyone!
Adelaide Food Central would like to thank Kate and the friendly staff at Kies Family Wines and Monkey Nut Cafe for a pleasurable afternoon in the Barossa Valley. All food and drink were provided free of charge.
Words by Kelly Betterman and Photos by Krystal Caon
WHERE: Barossa Valley Way, Lyndoch