One can be blamed for South Australia - it makes you fat very quickly. It begins in Adelaide, the state's capital, and then fills up from the sea to the hills. Always watered by one of the fine wines that fill countless barrels and bottles around Adelaide. Until I came to Adelaide, I hadn't associated Australia with haute cuisine and fine wine. But I am being taught otherwise.
Every year in April or May, the time has come: Adelaides Town Square has more than a dozen food and drink stalls lined up for ten days, where, according to Chris Taylor, you can enjoy South Australian cuisine for free and all of this with a selection of fine wines wash it down. Yes, I also believe that I interrogated myself when the young Gelista man, home-made ice cream, some of which was roasted over fire, assured me that admission to the delicacies was actually free for everyone. But even the homepage of the event does not allow any other conclusion. From meat skewers to pizza, cheese and Parma ham to whole quail, everything is there to make the stomachs of gourmets and gourmands more flexible. It cooks and cooks in every corner and so tempting scents rise that even God in heaven has to make your mouth water. In addition, the music buzzes and the alcohol flows like the water of the Niagara Falls.
The Australian tasting session with many celebrity chefs, wine producers and restaurant operators naturally does not happen by chance in Adelaide, which has been a metropolis of the food scene since the 80s. The city attracted more and more top chefs, who practiced culinary innovation. Not only kangaroos, emus and other bush meals are simmering in Adelaide's pots, but also Afghan spices and Italian, reissued classics. What comes in up to 20 courses in some restaurants on the table. Five in the highly praised Botanic Gardens Restaurant is enough for me, where fresh ingredients from the garden are said to bring flavor. This does not seem to be entirely successful with every dish, as some taste like my personal attempts at leftovers at home. But the ambience in a sprinkled garden pavilion is unbeatable, which can be reached after a short walk through a magical avenue of the botanical garden, covered with mighty trees.
The cube in the wine field
I have never seen anything like this: a glass and five-story, not completely pushed together cube in the middle of wine fields. The architectural extravaganza d'Arenberg Cube is located about 40 kilometers south of Adelaide in McLaren Vale, one of the many wine regions in the area.
Chester Osborne, whose family has been taking care of the wine fields since 1912 and who kissed the muse in 2003, is the brain behind today's legend, which combines bar, restaurant, wine tasting and much more Wine growing reflects. Depending on the position of the sun, the partly glass front now reflects the sky and wine fields, and the interior is also all about wine. Here the senses are in demand. The first steps lead into the so-called 'wine sensory room', where various glass bottles contain components of wines that can be sniffed out with the help of small pumps and a kind of mini gramophone. Whether it is a virtual fermentation container, a 360-degree video room or photos of wine production - even the largest wine-growing area quickly discovers its oenological vein.
But the most severe critics of wine are still the taste buds, and they will be challenged in the next few hours, while for me adventurous names like NV Pollyanna Sparkling Wine, The Witches Berry Chardonnay and The Money Spider Rousanne fill my glass. Casually with a glass in my hand, I stroll through the completely glass corridor full of pictures that look like comics, while other delicious snacks are waiting on each floor. Oysters en masse, cheese that even French gourmets rave about and as much ham as if Parma's storage cellar had just been looted. There is also a view of the McLaren Vale through the window front. Colorful chairs and armchairs bring the exotic look of the outside inside, but my personal highlight are the men's toilets, which a male colleague enthusiastically demonstrates to the women. Huge Lachmünder serve as urinals, will surely let some sensitive gentlemen think twice before entrusting the oversized figures with their best piece.
Save the best for last
Of course, it would be a sin to be in Adelaide and not pay a visit to the most famous wine-growing region in Australia, which only dedicates 10,000 hectares to wine: the Barossa Valley. Now you can explore this with your own rental car, as part of a sardine bus tour where around 24 tourists are squeezed, or in a 1962 Daimler with John Baldwin . Its family-run business is just as unique in the Barossa Valley as its gray-bearded look plus giant schnauzer. In the eight-seater limousine, which was previously intended more for royal than for tourist, he drives visitors to any desired winegrower and knows stories about everything and everyone.
Golden wine fields fly past the window in the autumnal April rain, rain that almost completely swallows the rolling hills that day. About an hour north of Adelaide we reach St Hugo , one of the first estates in the region from 1849. "The Hugo family was one of the first to make wine in Barossa," says John. The large lounge with a cozy seating area in front of a high chimney wall is exactly the place you want in cool, rainy weather. And a good wine with it. Or several. Wine guide Louise introduces us to six bottles, from a 2015 Barossa Shiraz to Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon from 2009. The drops taste delicious.
Even more, I am attracted by a tightly closed door, a so-called time capsule, behind which there is something well protected - a wine bottle, of course. It was walled in on October 23, 2016 for the opening of the new St Hugo house by Colin Gramp, son of Hugo Gramp, who started rolling the ruble of the winery in the 1920s. The precious bottle should not be opened until 2045 when Hugo would have turned 150. "You can also buy your own wine field from us and give it your name," Louise says of a very special offer. I can already see the finest Bernadette Olderdissen wine landing on snow-white tablecloths and sipping tender lips on it. "There are fields for 10,000, 50,000 or 100,000 AUS." Puff, the bottle bursts. Maybe in the next life.
The older the better
Not everyone has spit out their food, the group is slowly becoming happier - just in time for the next stop, Seppeltsfield Wines . This property has stood almost as long as there are Europeans in southern Australia. The Silesian immigrants Joseph and Johanna Seppelt founded the estate just 15 years after the first European settlement in South Australia, thereby giving an important impetus to the initial Australian wine tradition. At that time the good Joseph was in the mood for tobacco, not wine, which only subsequent generations increasingly grew in the fields. It all started in 1850, the first wine was bottled in 1878 and was only supposed to be opened again 100 years later. This was the beginning of a tradition.
"Here in the Centennial Cellar you can also drink your year of birth in wine," says John proudly. All of a sudden, everyone wants to be born in 1878 - because the precious drop is still stored and is no longer in danger of being drunk by visitors born this year. For the first time, the young spurts from the 1990s are not envied, but the more mature gentlemen from the 50s and 60s are. The drop comes straight from the barrel, mine tastes sweet, a little sticky. The wine connoisseurs conscientiously scribble in their notebooks, I pour the rest of the wine down my throat. Delicious! Opposite are barrels from the birth years of the English princes William and Harry and the kids of William, whatever their name. Greetings from good old England .
But in Seppertsfield you can not only taste wonderful wine, you can also feast on it. It is in the Fino restaurant that I enjoy the tastiest food on Australian soil. Even lamb, which I usually loathe, but prepared with figs, radicchio, almonds, yoghurt and flatbread, it becomes something that even a lamb banana gets really good at. Not to mention the chocolate raspberry cake to top it off.
In the Barossa Valley, every winery boasts something different. Yalumba calls itself "the most historic family-run winery". Wine growing here has been said to be particularly sustainable since the mid-1990s - the winery has now even made its own barrels. “The wines have been suitable for vegetarians and vegans since 2011,” John told us earlier. In 2007, Yalumba was the first wine producer in the world to receive the Climate Protection Award from the US agency for climate protection. The classic winery, Signature Wine, has been a Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz blend since 1966.
And Yalumba has Louisa Rose, who is considered a rock star among wine producers. Her life revolves around wine and the incessant improvement in cultivation and production. No wonder that there is also a focus on training new wine connoisseurs. For this reason, a crypt full of 'forgotten bottles' is hidden on the property - some ancient, but unfortunately no longer edible, burrows from all over the world, on which studies can still be carried out.
I am not a car lover, foodie or wine connoisseur, but I like this day in the Barossa Valley. The wine tingles in the head and body and John chats through his beard, I don't understand what for a long time. It does not matter. He laughs a lot, even without drinking. Everyone else is happy and full. And that's a combination that doesn't exist every day. Not even when traveling.
The trip was supported by Tourism Australia.