The Barossa Valley – 70 kilometres north of Adelaide – is home to some of Australia’s best red wines. Covered with a patchwork of vineyards and dotted with historic towns, this broad valley has earned an international reputation for its flavoursome and full bodied shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Its unique combination of different soils, warm microclimates and six generations of winemaking experience sees the Barossa consistently deliver exceptional reds, vintage after vintage.
Settled in the 1840s, the Barossa became home to wine-loving Lutheran immigrants from German speaking Silesia, now part of Poland. They brought with them their love and skill in making great breads, cakes, noodles, pickles, mettwurst and, of course, wine. While they persevered with German white varieties such as riesling and moselle, by the 1970s the French red varieties were producing the most consistent and remarkable wines.
Winemakers realised that in order to succeed, they needed to embrace the naturally warm climate. Sitting at 34° south, the Barossa Valley shares the same latitude as Cape Town, Buenos Aires and Sydney’s southern fringe. Surrounded by low hills, the valley floor warms in the summer, helping to develop the flavours in the grapes and also boosting their sugars. Away from the maritime influence, the summer evenings cool under a cloudless sky – another factor that influences strong flavours. Additionally, Barossa winters are cold and wet, which is perfect for dormant vines in the off-season to ensure a successful bud burst in spring. Add to this a complex collage of different soil types, from deep siliceous sands to heavy black clay, and vineyards in the Barossa are able to produce different characteristics from the same grape variety, within the same block of land.
This makes the Barossa ideal terroir for French red varieties to develop those big, bold flavours and bright, attractive aromas. Some might even call wines like this ‘audacious’. Which is where a new range of Barossa red wines comes in – aptly named Audacious, this series of bold wines capture that true Barossa vitality.
A classic, full bodied shiraz with ripe berry aromas and a spicy hint of freshly cracked black pepper. On the palate are luscious, velvety tannins with a touch of oak, which come together for a complex, yet layered finish.
This is a wine to serve with a juicy barbecued steak, a daube or stew, or other dishes with strong spicy notes – such as a heady Indian lamb rogan josh or a fragrant Malaysian beef rendang.
Audacious Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect example of how warm climate cab sauv produces rich dark fruit aromas. Blackcurrant and blackberry are immediately apparent, along with notes of chocolate mint, with a hint of vanilla from the judicious use of French oak. That oak also gives some supple tannin texture on the palate for a beautiful finish.
This is a wine that is perfect to enjoy alongside foods that are rich in umami and herbal notes, such as roasted lamb with plenty of garlic and rosemary; rich mushroom risotto enriched with plenty of parmesan; or even a juicy shoulder of pork with a layer of spiced crackling, served with a sharp apple sauce.
To round out this trio of refined, warm climate reds, is the Audacious Merlot. It’s a slightly lighter wine, but still rich and engaging, with notes of juicy black cherries and ripe damson plums, along with some lovely, delicate, lifted floral notes. A touch of oak and silky-smooth tannins gives a complex and lengthy finish.
This wine is best paired with the sweetness and richness of caramelised vegetables with BBQ chicken. It also has a herbaceous note that makes it work with fresh herbs, such as bay and rosemary, in lighter slow cooked dishes. Its balanced acidity will also work just as well with rare red meat.
The Audacious wine range represents some of the best Barossa winemaking. Wines that have been fashioned to drink now with modern Australian cuisine – from the traditional classics, to the big flavours of Asian and European dishes. They are wines to pour now. Wines that carry 170 years of Barossa winemaking tradition in their development, and ideal for the wine lover who is not afraid of seriously fun and flavoursome wines. Now that is Audacious.
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