Nestled in the beautiful region of Nuriootpa in the Barossa Valley is a distinguished winery called First Drop Wines. With the aim of incorporating passion, fun, and flavour, First Drop has consistently provided its customers with quality textures of wine by using local produce from the surrounding vineyards.
The winery itself is in an establishment that dates back to the 1930s, where the walls of one of the houses harbour some of the tastiest wines created in South Australia. There is a dining room, a cellar, a bar, and a gift shop where visitors can buy some fresh, locally produced wine with a boastful elegant flavour to it.
We were given a tour of the Distillery, where fresh wine was being stored in the barrels and ageing gracefully. We were also given the exclusive opportunity of having a swig of red wine, straight from the barrel. It was subtle in its taste – not too strong, not too bland, and just the right balance of sweetness and strength.
The team at Adelaide Food Central was cordially invited to an exclusive wine tasting and tapas luncheon, where we were treated to some delicious treats that were complemented with a choice of red/white wine.
We had the Anchovies marinated in extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon, and parsley. On their own, the anchovies were naturally salty but when combined with lemon, the whole taste was taken to another level.
Next up, we were served a Trio of Marinated Olives. These were black, green and pruned, and were marinated in olive oil. The green olives were dense and bitter, while the black olives had a firmer texture with a much nuttier flavour. The dish was paired with A Mother’s Milk Barossa Shiraz, a wine with good acidity and aromas of dark cherry and blackberry.
We also had a platter of Cured Meats. The proscuitto and salami slices were thinly cut and the cured meats had just the right amount of saltiness. This perfect with the accompanying bread slices.
One of the table’s favourite dishes was a plate of fresh, local, pan-fried Haloumi Cheese. The cheese was cut into triangular pieces and lightly fried on both sides. The exterior was slightly crisp, and the centre was soft and delicate. By itself, the haloumi was salty, but when combined with freshly squeezed lemon juice, the flavours were well balanced. This dish was paired with Does Your Dog Bite, a red wine with complex earth, cherry and spice flavours.
More often than not, the simplest things in life are often the best. This was very true with the West Coast Cooked Prawns. The prawns were simply steamed in their shells to retain the natural flavours. The prawns were juicy and succulent, and were perfect with the savoury seafood sauce.
Another big hit for the table was (several) servings of local, Fried Calamari with lemon and a side of aioli mayonnaise dip. This was the best calamari we’ve ever had. The calamari was dusted and lightly fried until it had a thin battered coating. It was obviously fresh, and the calamari was so soft and delicate. It was absolutely divine by itself or with the aioli.
The Caprese Salad is a simple Italian salad with fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil seasoned with salt and olive oil. The mozzarella was broken up into morsels and had a soft and delicate texture. The basil was fresh and slightly sweet, which complemented the thinly sliced tomatoes. Perfectly seasoned, this salad was light and refreshing.
Prior to this dish coming out of the kitchen, we were told to pay close attention to this underrated dish. Agreed that it was just chunks of potatoes, but the Patates Bravas won my heart over. Seasoned with paprika and lemon juice, the potato chunks had a smoky, spicy, and scrumptious tang to it.
As part of the main course, we were treated to some Spring Roasted Lamb Racks. The meat was tender and succulent with a pinkish tinge in the centre. The dip served on the side heightened the flavour of the dish, resulting in an appetising meal.
Of course, no meal is complete without a serving of sweet goodness. Cue in a mix of Chocolate and Sicilian Cannoli. The cannoli had a beautiful cream filling, which complemented the crunchiness of the pastry and blended the taste of the pistachios nicely. The chocolate squares had a high cacao content and were naturally bitter.
First Drop Wines and Home Of The Brave have done a fabulous job of providing us with the opportunity to learn more about the wine they produce from locally sourced ingredients. It was amazing to see the amount of hard work and effort that is put in to create the perfect drop of red, white, and sparkling. Our hosts were friendly and hospitable and the experience of visiting a winery out in the country is one that should not be missed.
Words by Fatema Sitabkhan
WHERE: 38 Barossa Valley Way, Nuriootpa