19 May 2010
BAROSSA BIRTHDAY: ALL BOZOS ON THIS BUS
Wilma Kills A Year Secret Sausage Ritual In Barossa Three Top Cellars
This was one of those days, away back before a near-perfect vintage: stunning clear weather ... wicked company ... a safe bus driver ... three great wineries ... and a crew of thirsty devils loose in the Barossa on the occasion of Wilma McLean's birthday. These photographs are by the ace, Milton Wordley, a regular contributor to DRINKSTER, and a man who can hold frame and focus in the most savage and challenging conditions ...
Dr. White, tour leader, with the crew in the Karra Yerta vineyard atop Flaxman's Ridge in the high Barossa. James and Marie Linke and their boys are perfect Barossa hosts up here in the cool near the 500 metre mark, where the weather is often not quite so beatific. Check those old vines: with a neighbour, they share-farm Semillon, Shiraz, and Riesling here, in 600 million year old sandstone and micaceous schist.
The ancient hand-hewn Barossadeutscher barn and stables at Karra Yerta: James Linke pouring a round of killer Karra Yerta Riesling; Daniel Linke on guitar. The floor tiles are short redgum logs buried, up-ended in sand, the ceiling burlap. The Linke boys always turn on some very cool original music.
The high, wild, seven-year-old dry-grown bush vine vineyard of Big Bob and Wilma McLean, north of Karra Yerta, at McLean's Farm, smack on top of the high Barossa at Mengler's Hill. This is the schmick view from the winery apron. Wedge-tailed eagles are common on this ridge, the site of many gastronomic crimes.
Designer, sculptor and fabric artist Annabelle Collett loses her head doing the limbo beneath a six foot Barossa garlic mettwurst. Big Bob and Wilma turned on a classic lunch of Barossa meats, smallgoods, crunchy loaves, dill pickles and cheeses. Not to mention the crackerjack McLean's Farm wines.
Robin Wordley, lifestyle co-ordinator at Mixmasters Studios hits a lower note ...
Birthday girl Willie does it without spilling a drop. That's McLean's Farm Dry-grown Riesling, after all!
So blessed, the great wurst is carried aloft to the dining table ...
Big Bob sings the tenor part of Au Fond Du Temple Saint ...
... and then tells us grace: "Over the lips and over the gums, lookout guts, here she comes; knives and forks as sharp as razors, praise the lord and go like blazes ... "
Uberrieslingmeister Colin Forbes, with Marie Linke of Karra Yerta. Colin does tastings of his wines by arrangement at McLean's Farm.
The birthday girl attacks her spectacular McKuchen already.
Next stop: two Annabelles shopping for Shiraz at Greenock Creek Vineyards and Cellars, near Seppeltsfield. The underground tanks provide constant cool storage.
Taking a breather on the Greenock Creek open fermenters. This is one of the high temples of Shiraz, internationally. Michael, a master stonemason as well as ace winemaker and brilliant viticulturer, built the winery. The fermenter walls are good and thick, providing reliable insulation to prevent sudden changes of temperature. That's Peter Fraser of Yangarra Estate with the legs. He's a Shiraz and Grenache king, too, but in McLaren Vale.
"That's enough! That's enough!" Mick Wordley of Mixmasters Studios attempting to avoid drinking too much Greenock Creek Roennfeldt's Road Shiraz. Hardened experts know this to be a totally futile exercise.
Annabelle and Michael Waugh: custodians of some of the most revered Shiraz and Grenache vineyards in the world.
... and a few cold Trinnie's pales to seal the deal. This is the bar of the hallowed Greenock Creek Tavern, which has been in the hands of the eminently hospitable Schluter family since 1870 - probably an Australian record for continual country hostelry. Wolf Blass blended the first wines to bear his name in the stables at the back of this pub, and is still a member of the luncheon club.
Thanks again to Milton Wordley for the cool photography. As you can see, Milt specialises in the wine business, which he's been photographing for thirty years. If you need photographs of Australian wine, contact him through his website.