Sampling the Full-Bodied Red Wines of the Barossa Valley – Tanunda, South Australia

IMG_9618

Following a fantastic experience on nature-lover’s Kangaroo Island, we headed back to the mainland and drove a few hours north to the Barossa Valley. This famous wine-producing region is located just outside of Adelaide, South Australia’s state capital. As we started approaching our holiday park in the town of Nuriootpa, we began seeing the neatly spaced rows of vines.

After getting squared away in our holiday park, we inquired about renting bicycles to explore the surrounding vineyards. Luckily, there were bikes available to rent directly from the holiday park. We endeavored to get an early start and visit a good number of cellar doors.

Rows and rows of grape vines.Rows and rows of grape vines.
Rows and rows of grape vines.19-Jan-2012 20:00
 

Since we were staying in Nuriootpa, we would have to cycle a few kilometers to nearby Tanunda, where most of the wineries are located. Luckily, we were able to follow the separate pathway, which paralleled the main road.

The excellent bicycle path between Nuriootpa and Tanunda.The excellent bicycle path between Nuriootpa and Tanunda.
The excellent bicycle path between Nuriootpa and Tanunda.20-Jan-2012 13:40
 

As we approached Tanunda, we noticed the roads had been shut down and we started noticing a lot of professional jersey-clad cyclists whizzing past us. It turned out we had stumbled into the Tour Down Under, one of the world’s biggest cycling events.

A police motorcade following the pack leaders for the Tour Down Under.A police motorcade following the pack leaders for the Tour Down Under.
A police motorcade following the pack leaders for the Tour Down Under.20-Jan-2012 16:56
 

We felt a little silly puttering about on our hybrid bikes, with onlookers cheering us on, while the pros zipped past us at light speed. Still, it was neat to see all this!

Here they come!Here they come!
Here they come!20-Jan-2012 16:58
 

With the big race going on we were a little worried that the wineries might not be open. Luckily, these fears were quickly dispelled after pulling into the Langmeil Winery on Para Road. It turns out this is actually one of their biggest days of the year, with many of the Tour Down Under fans stopping by at the wineries for a cheeky libation.

We were treated to some truly special wines at Langmeil, including a small sample of a very rare and expensive wine – a Shiraz produced from vines planted in 1843. At AUD $100 per bottle it was definitely out of our price bracket!

Langmeil Winery - home to a very old and rare Shiraz.Langmeil Winery - home to a very old and rare Shiraz.
Langmeil Winery - home to a very old and rare Shiraz.20-Jan-2012 14:01
 

Already buzzing, we hopped back on our bikes and headed over to Peter Lehman Wines. This experience lacked the personal touch of Langmeil, though the wines were definitely more affordable and there was a good selection on offer.

Peter Lehmann Wines.Peter Lehmann Wines.
Peter Lehmann Wines.20-Jan-2012 14:54
 

We continued on to Richmond Grove, where we lightened up the palate a bit and tried some of the local Riesling wines.

Switching it up with some Riesling at Richmond Grove Winery.Switching it up with some Riesling at Richmond Grove Winery.
Switching it up with some Riesling at Richmond Grove Winery.20-Jan-2012 15:41
 

Finally, we stopped by Stanley Lambert Wines, which was positioned next to the main road, where we could enjoy watching more of the Tour Down Under.

Even though Heather is not normally a fan of bold and spicy Shiraz wines, she had to admit, the wines we tried in the Barossa Valley were fantastic. We bought a couple bottles to lug back to our campervan with us.

The Barossa Valley would be the furthest west we would travel with our campervan before turning back and heading for Melbourne. Before leaving the area, though, we stopped at the Barossa Reservoir. The gently arched dam that holds back the reservoir is famous as a “Whispering Wall”, where speakers at either end can supposedly whisper to each other and hear one another perfectly fine.

The Barossa Reservoir Dam aka the "Whispering Wall".The Barossa Reservoir Dam aka the "Whispering Wall".
The Barossa Reservoir Dam aka the "Whispering Wall".21-Jan-2012 13:30
 

We put this to the test, and sure enough it was true!

With our time in South Australia drawing to a close, we loaded up our campervan and turned east, back towards the state of Victoria.

Leave a Reply