Category Archives: Barossa Wine

Sep 09 2016

Agathist Alchemy: New Barossa label from Torbreck winemaker Chris Isbel

Posted on September 09, 2016 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Tomorrow is International Grenache Day. Even though grenache is one of the most widely planted red grape varieties in the world it’s still considered a bit of an unsung hero?

As a lover of Rhône wines and especially Châteauneuf-du-Pape, of which grenache is typically the dominant grape, I applaud efforts to help the variety become more widely appreciated!

In Australia winemakers are doing wonderful things with grenache. Take Barossa based Agathist Alchemy, a fairly new label from Torbreck senior winemaker Chris Isbel. Chris has just released two grenache wines from the 2015 vintage: the early drinking style Agathist Alchemy First Wine ($31.95) and the cellar worthy Agathist Alchemy Second Wine ($57.95) – a wine that is matured in puncheons for about 9 -12 months before bottling.

Chris is keen to create wines that reflect the essence of old vine Barossa grenache; hence the unusual name of his label. ‘Agathist’, by the way, is someone who believes that all things tend toward the greater good (sounds like a very helpful philosophy!). By making the wines in a very minimalist way – eg. natural ferments, no additives except a small bit of sulphur after a malolactic fermentation – Chris relies on the grapes and the ferment to “choose their own path to greatness.”

A great lover of grenache, Chris believes it’s the most suited grape variety for the Barossa. He was delighted to secure the produce of an exceptional vineyard of mature grenache vines, owned by his friend and vigneron Nick Radford.

Nick organically farms his one hectare Seppeltsfield vineyard, where the soils of heavy red clay have lots of blue stones scattered throughout. These 60 plus year old low yielding dry grown vines produce fully ripe fruit with concentrated flavours. Add Chris’s feather touch approach to winemaking, and the results are wines that are beautifully expressive of their terroir – lusciously fruity, yet elegant and complex with subtle savoury notes.

By Merrill Witt, Editor

Both of these wines are available on the Cellarit Wine Market.. [Read More]

Mar 03 2014

5 Top Boutique Barossa Shirazes that you must try!

Posted on March 03, 2014 | By merrill@cellarit.com

If you think all Barossa shiraz is full bodied, overripe and too alcoholic then now is probably no better time to take another look!

Over the past 15 years the Barossa has undergone a real transformation. An astonishing number of  high quality, boutique wineries, headed by dedicated winemakers with impeccable credentials, have emerged on the scene. Brilliant wines from these younger wineries alongside established players like Penfolds and Henschke prove that Barossa is still home to most of Australia’s very best examples of shiraz… [Read More]

Jan 01 2013

Shiraz Viognier: Not just a cool climate blend!

Posted on January 01, 2013 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Due in no small part to the critical acclaim of Clonakilla’s Shiraz Viognier, the shiraz viognier blend has become synonymous with the cooler climate regions of Australia like the Canberra District and Victoria’s Heathcote, Bendigo and Yarra Valley appellations.

Consequently, you may be surprised to learn that the first stellar Australian example of the blend in fact hailed from the ‘warm’ climate of Barossa Valley. Dave Powell of Torbeck added around 5% viognier to his first -the 1995- vintage of the RunRig[Read More]

Aug 08 2012

Captain Barossa: A Winning Formula for Growers!

Posted on August 08, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

The winemaker with the acumen behind the Captain Barossa venture is a mystery man. As Tyson Stelzer reports in a very interesting article for the most recent edition of Gourmet Traveller Wine, Captain Barossa has deliberately decided to keep a low profile because he wants to focus attention away from the winemaker and onto the ‘real heroes’ – the Barossa growers and their vineyards. (Saluting the Captain by Tyson Stelzer, Gourmet Traveller Wine, August/September 2012)

Captain Barossa believes the growers have never received the recognition or financial compensation they deserve… [Read More]