I like wine. In fact, I’d say I love wine. I have a decent stash at home, although it never really grows because it gets drunk as quickly as I buy it. I love wine with food and do my best to make a match when I cook or go out. I love days spent wandering vineyards and cellar doors indulging in a little wine tasting and love the challenge of picking flavour profiles (generally, a hit and miss activity). Needless to say, a day in the Barossa Valley at Jacob’s Creek and enjoying some of their amazing cellar door experiences was right up my alley.
We started off with the Food & Wine Master Class with Four Course Lunch where we explored our sensory capacity and sent our brains into overdrive with new found wine knowledge, led by our wonderful host Annie.
Our masterclass guided us through 4 popular varietals, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. We engaged our senses by visually assessing the wine, nosing the wine and of course by tasting it. Now anyone can do the above, that’s what any cellar door tasting is about, but in this we did so much more than just sip and move on. It was time to concentrate on the palate – how does the wine feel in the mouth, do you feel it on the tongue, the gums or does it have a whole mouth feel? Does the mouth become dry with this wine or is it salivating? What can you smell and taste? It sounds a bit overwhelming but the informal atmosphere and friendly host make it easy to engage and participate. You will dazzle your friends with new found knowledge and have all the lingo to sound like a wine expert.
At this stage I’m feeling like a wine aficionado. It’s time to take our education further by exploring wine and food pairings. In organized fashion each wine has a ramekin of flavours that profile in that wine. Starting with the Riesling that has high citrus notes we had a bite of lemon and then a sip of wine to see what happens when the two are paired (I’ll keep this a surprise). We then repeat with shredded sorell and then white pea. Each ingredient is a part of the days crescendo. A divine four course lunch comprising of the ingredients we have just tasted with the wine. The Riesling is served with Coorong Mullet, sorell, white pea, fennel and herb salad.
Moving onto the Chardonnay and its complementary pairings of butter, roast pumpkin and a fresh sage leaf that lead into the chef’s magnificent creation of Roast Pumpkin Gnocchi with burn sage butter and pumpkin seeds. I’m really hooked on the butter/chardonnay which was my sensory experience of the day.
As we move into the red wines our flavour pairings become deeper and richer. The Cabernet Sauvignon is tasted with pickled onion, olive and fresh thyme preparing us for the main meal of Dry Aged Beef Fillet with olive and caper salsa.
Finally, a strong finish we try the famed Barossa Shiraz, its tasted with beetroot, dark chocolate and star anise that come together to produce a playful desert that is a kitchen secret. The only way to find out is to head up to the Barossa yourself.
This experience is great value at $120 per person and is suitable for wine experts and novices alike. I cannot recommend this class enough.
We combined this experience with another of Jacob’s Creek fabulous experiences. Armed with new knowledge and wine expertise, we tried our hand at Blend by Jacob’s Creek, an experience where you get to be the winemaker. With the choice of red or white, 4 varietals are offered for you to get to know and then the fun starts. In 10ml increments you can blend up to all four to make your own original blend. I settled on a blend of 70% Limestone Coast Shiraz, 20% Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir.
Watching your own blend being bottled with your name on the label is a triumph indeed. Each new blend is given a unique serial number, so you can order more of your creation. Imagine serving your dinner party guests with your own signature wine blend! Jacob’s Creek is offering this wonderful for $55 per person.
If you are in the Barossa enjoying these wonderful experiences, maybe celebrating a birthday or anniversary or maybe you just want to make your Barossa experience then why not pop next door to St Hugo for some more unforgettable memories. For unparalleled indulgence we love St Hugo for its sophisticated and elegant menu crafted by Mark McNamara and his amazing team. Their passion for food is contagious and watching the symphony in the kitchen is just as pleasing as eating the food itself. As always, the meticulous menu is designed to match the exquisite St Hugo wines. The Autumn menu starts with a riesling and Octopus with elements of lemon verbena, green apple and parsnip. A GSM is paired with beautiful creamy white beans and Duck with radish and coconut sings when matched with Cabernet Sauvignon. The grand finale of Pork Cheek, broth and noodles with an Eden Valley Shiraz is a soulful experience.
Living in Adelaide we are so lucky to have the Barossa Valley so close to home and these three experiences are among the best this wonderful region has to offer. My expectations of all three were well and truly exceeded. Adelaide Food Central would like to thank Pernod-Ricard for arranging these activities and the teams at Jacob’s Creek and St Hugo for an unforgettable day.
Words by Kate Wilkinson
WHERE: Barossa Valley Way, Rowland Flat