What a surprise!

Been on leave today, to join some colleagues for a trip around the Barossa trying a bit of wine, followed by a long Italian lunch in the deep north.

Bit of a long story about how this came about, and I was not really sure what to expect. Pleasantly surprised was the result though – especially lunch at the final stop.

The day went something like this: Visit a few wineries (Rockford, Bethany, St Hallett) before heading back to Angle Vale for more wine and lunch.

Angle Vale? Who on earth buys wine at Angle Vale?

Well… It turns out that Dominic Versace makes wine at Angle Vale, under the name (surprise) Dominic Versace Wines. Again, a name I had never heard of. Some googling tonight shows that in the right circles they are quite well known for making a top-notch product. Every review I found tonight is flattering.

From not knowing what to expect – EVERYTHING WAS EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD!

They make small amounts of wine the simplest possible way – no big factory here, just a shed with some barrels in and everything hand made.

We started with an unwooded Chardonnay , served lightly chilled – too cold and there is no flavour. I’m not a huge fan of Chardy any more but this was exceptionally good.

Then, a Sangiovese – a common grape for making wine in Italy. Sometimes it is used here, often making a fairly ordinary wine. This, like the Chardonnay, was damn good.

But there was more – a Sparkling Red, a Sangiovese / Shiraz / Grenache blend, a Rose, a straight Shiraz. The Sparkling Red in particular was big, rich, smoky – one of the best examples of the type ever. At least as good as Rockfords Black Shiraz (and that’s a big statement).

The winemaker (that’s Dominic) was stoking the pizza oven and we spent the next couple of hours eating real pizza, pickles, cheeses, and a fantastic pear and rocket salad. Pizzas were simple – prawn, or tomato and salami, or roast capsicum. All with a little cheese of course, and I suspect some herbs. But not covered in huge amounts of stuff, just a few simple ingredients done really, really well.

All this was laid on because one of the group knows Dominic, and used to go there pruning the vines at one time.

I feel very privileged, we got Rolls Royce treatment from a small family winemaker, drank some of the best wines I have ever come across, ate extremely well, and even got to try some of a special reserve straight from the barrel.

I’ll be back – probably this weekend, they are less than 20 minutes drive away!!! My wallet will suffer but who cares when there is wine of this quality to be bought!


**** EDIT Saturday pm: Just come back with a few bottles. That sparkling Shiraz is a mere $20 a bottle – a steal. You’d pay twice this for some others of comparable quality. I cannot recommend this place enough. With a clean palate, everything was simply stunning. As good as it seemed yesterday, if not better.

After the last buy-up I swore I would not buy any more wine for 2 years. That resolution lasted a month. Pathetic isn’t it.