A taste of the Barossa, back to 1967


A taste of the Barossa, back to 1967

saltram burgundy barossa

A lovely tasting this afternoon at Philglas & Swiggot in Battersea. It was an interesting set of Barossa wines, presented by James March of the Barossa Wine and Grape Association, spanning the 1960s to the current day.

This tasting reminded me why I fell in love with the Barossa when I first discovered wine in the early 1990s (here’s my first ever wine region visit report, back in 1996, the early days of the internet). These are proper wines, with real interest and complexity.

Shobbrook Didier Grenache 2014 Barossa, Australia
Pale-ish colour. This has a truly beautiful nose that’s warm, floral and peppery with notes of red cherries and rose hip, with a hint of herbs. The palate is sweet, silky and enticing with lovely red cherries. So supple and sweet with finesse and elegance. 94/100

Ruggabellus Archaeus 2009 Barossa, Australia
Debut vintage from Abel Gibson, and it’s showing so well. Fresh and elegant with hints of tar and spice. Nice dense blackberry and blackcurrant fruit with a bit of grip. So fresh and stylish with lovely balance. 94/100

cirillo estate barossa

Cirillo Estate 1850 Grenache 2010 Barossa, Australia
Produced from the oldest Grenache vines in the world, which records indicate may have been planted in 1848. The label claims 1850. This is in Vine Vale, on soils as sandy as a beach. Warm, spicy and slightly peppery red fruits nose. Sweet, supple, detailed palate with nice spiciness and some pepper notes. There’s also a subtle hint of mint. This has structure and focus and it’s lovely. 93/100

Cirillo Estate Mataro 2012 Barossa, Australia
Old vine Mourvèdre (aka Mataro). Fresh, supple and bright with nice red cherry and plum fruit with subtle spices. Very fresh, elegant and well balanced with pure, juicy, direct fruit and real finesse. 94/100

Spinifex Bête Noir Shiraz 2013 Barossa, Australia
Superbly confident with silky, pure blackberry and black cherry fruit. Supple and fleshy with generosity and also focus. Great definition to this ripe wine. 93/100


Rockford Rifle Range Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Barossa, Australia
Super-impressed with this. Refined blackcurrant nose with some spicy, gravelly freshness. Very pure and textured with fresh blackcurrant fruit on the palate and great definition. 94/100

Rockford Basket Press Shiraz 2006 Barossa, Australia
Sweet, warm, spicy and subtly tarry, with some floral notes on the nose. The palate has a leathery edge to the sweet, generous, nicely framed blackberry and black cherry fruit with some red berry notes. Open and stylish. 94/100

Rockford Basket Press Shiraz 1996 Barossa, Australia
Warm, sweet, open and slightly herby. Open and interesting with hints of tar and mint. Concentrated and sweetly fruited on the palate with lovely spicy detail. Lovely stuff. 95/100

charles melton nine popes

Charles Melton Nine Popes 1998 Barossa, Australia
Leather, herbs, black cherries and spice on the nose with some warm fudgey notes. Linear, pure and direct blackberry and black cherry fruit with some spiciness. This wine has developed really nicely and shows beautiful complexity. 95/100

Charles Melton Nine Popes 1999 Barossa, Australia
Warm, open spicy nose is sweet and earthy. The palate is warm, herby and spicy with lovely detailed peppery, herby, spicy notes. Has evolved well. 93/100

st hallett old block

St Hallett Old Block Shiraz 1992 Barossa, Australia
13.5% alcohol. Supple, warm and elegant with fine red cherry fruit and a bit of dusty spiciness. Nice peppery notes here to this elegant wine. This is very fine and has evolved beautifully. 95/100

Saltram Marme Brook Cabernet Shiraz 1967 Barossa, Australia
Hints of mint, spice and dried herbs on the nose, with some red cherries, too. The palate is fresh and detailed, showing lovely purity for an old wine and a bit of spiciness, as well as pepper notes. There’s a sort of weightlessness to this wine – it’s so elegant. 95/100

saltram claret

Saltram Bin 51 ‘Claret’ 1968 Barossa, Australia
This is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet and Tokay. Minty, spicy hints to the nose. Sweet and vivid with some spicy presence on the palate. Juicy and quite delicious, with a bit of structure to the berry fruits that remain, this is really stylish. Has angles. 94/100

Saltram Bin 54 ‘Burgundy’ 1969 Barossa, Australia
Pale-ish colour with a hint of brown. Sweet, slightly malty nose with a bit of herb and earth. But it is on the palate that this wine shines. It has lovely texture with a pure, warm, smooth mouthfeel, and it still has some red fruit character. Amazing spicy finesse: this is quite ethereal and really beautiful. 96/100

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