Focus on Australian Wine Regions: Barossa Valley

Staff Writer
The mecca of shiraz

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Barossa Valley is home to some of the world’s oldest grape vines.

The Barossa Valley is the most famous wine region in Australia and produces some of the most recognizable Australian wine brands around the world (PenfoldsJacob’s CreekTorbreckYalumba). This South Australia wine region is well-known for a good reason — it produces some of the most delectable shiraz (Australian for syrah) in the world. Great cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, semillon, viognier, and grenache are also grown here, but shiraz is the undisputed king of the Barossa. 

The region’s modern history dates back to the early 1800s when the area was settled by English and German pioneers (German is still spoken in the Barossa today), who soon began planting crops, including grape vines. In fact, the Barossa is home to some of the world’s oldest grape vines: Penfold’s famous cabernet sauvignon vines in "Block 42" of the Kalimna Vineyard were planted in 1888! The rolling hills, varied soils (clay, limestone, and quartz), and hot days and cool nights make this a perfect place to grow wine grapes. 

The shirazes of Australia are dark, rich wines heavy with ripe berry flavors and interlaced with herb and spice notes, including licorice, mint, and eucalyptus. Smoky flavors like grilled steak or lamb are magic with a Barossa shiraz, so choose a wine from the list below, fire up the grill, and enjoy the last few weeks of summer. 

Barossa wines we recommend: 

ST. HALLETT "Faith" Shiraz 2011 (Barossa Valley) $13 
TORBRECK "Woodcutter’s" Shiraz 2012 (Barossa Valley) $18 
GRANT BURGE "Filsell" Shiraz 2011 (Barossa Valley) $30
CHARLES MELTON "Nine Popes" Shiraz/Grenache Blend 2010 (Barossa Valley) $45

Related Links
Australia's Little-Known Wine Region: Coonawarra 3-Hour Tour: Melbourne, Australia