Friday, 25 January 2013

Don’t drink it if the top’s bent! Wine tasting in Barossa

Cork vs screw-top?

We asked this at Torbreck winery (can highly recommend the Woodcutter Shiraz $20 per bottle).  ‘We’re changing to screw-top, because cork isn’t so easy to get hold of in Australia.’

Torbreck cellar door - where you can taste some excellent Shiraz
But that’s not the only reason.  The problem with corks is that the wine can become ‘corked’.  Which happens when the cork reacts with the wine and makes it (the wine) taste funny.  This is why you are asked to try the wine at a restaurant – it’s not to see if you like it, it’s to see if it’s corked.  And, if it is, you send it back.

That’s why I thought it was interesting that, even with a screw-top, you are asked to taste the wine.  To be honest, I thought it was because there is something about the ritual of the man having to taste the wine before the woman’s wine is poured.  That’s always amused me.  But, with the corks gone, does that mean this little ritual is redundant?

Far from it.  If air gets into a screw-topped bottle, it will cause the wine to go off.  So, if you’re checking wine at a restaurant and think it’s off, ask to see the top.  And, if you’re buying wine – make sure the top isn’t dented!

Wine tasting in Torbreck
We had this conversation over the tasting of several wines (I can highly recommend all the Torbreck Shiraz) in a lovely little ‘cellar door’, just the way I like it.   We came away with a bottle of Woodcutter Shiraz, which is perfect for drinking now. Which means we have now dunk it.

Wine-tasting in Barossa is almost as laid-back as in Margaret River, but without the cleaning.  Everyone is very friendly, keen on their wines, they have no problem with the fact you probably won’t buy any (‘it’s cheaper for you in the UK, because of our taxes’).  At Gibson we talked about our travels and were recommended other wineries and a great place for fish and chips, while we picked up a bottle of very passable Semillon Sauvignon Blanc for $10 (went down very well with the fish and chips).

Getting recommendations from Summer at Gibson
At Charles Melton we sat round a table, which was even more informal than the counter, chatting with fellow wine tasters.  We’d been recommended this winery by someone we met tasting wines in Margaret River, as well as Summer from Gibson (mentioned in my blog, as promised!), and it lived up to both recommendations.  We bought a bottle of ‘Father-in-Law’ Shiraz.

All the while, we enjoyed the scenery.  A bit dry maybe, but still lovely – left us wondering what it must be like in spring when the grass is green.

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