Imagine arriving at the Barossa Winery of Grant Burge first thing on a Sunday morning and being given a glass of the Holy Trinity to drink. It happened to me and was almost a religious experience.
Grant Burge wines in the vine covered conservatory. The sun shining thru the vines gives a dappled effect.
My visit to Grant Burge on Sunday 10th March was one of the highlights of a recent trip to Australia. As well as the awesome wines, there was the hospitality that was unexpected. Our group was hosted in the vine-covered conservatory where the tables were laid with glasses and food. I put my bag on a chair. "You can't sit there - this isn't for us", said one of our group. But it was for us, and thanks to Eurowine, Burge's agent in New Zealand, our group of enthusiastic wine consumers, amongst which were a winemaker and a wine writer enjoying a vinous holiday, we were extremely well looked after.
Winemaker Craig Stansborough presented the wines and as we sipped on our bubbly he summarised the 2002 growing season.
"It's been the coolest summer on record but there has been no rain for the last few weeks, since February 18. The whites are showing the best acid levels seen in Barossa while the reds have good acid levels and excellent colour levels", he said.
It was the start of one of the most memorable days of our tour.
Another opportunity to taste the Grant Burge wines when Sue Henderson, the Australian Sales and Marketing Manager passed through Auckland at the end of April.
Grant Burge Wines is fairly new in Barossa terms, established in 1988 by Grant and Helen Burge. But Grant continues a family tradition that has continued through five generations in the Barossa Valley.
My notes from both tastings are presented here with the date noted when tasted.
Grant Burge Barossa Pinot Noir Chardonnay NV
Lovely rich flavours with peach & strawberry underlying citrus on a bed of mellow yeast. Biscuity, full flavoured, lovely richness and creamy aftertaste. Good match with strawberries. 10Mar02.
A classy yeasty fizz with warm bready flavours and hints of peach. NZ$25. 30Apr02.
Thorn Eden Valley Riesling 2001
Lovely floral, limey, dry Riesling with a touch of juicy tropical fruit and honey emerging on finish. Plenty of acid and spice in this wine. 10Mar02.
Earthy lime on the nose with hints of floral. Warmly textured with a layer of thin honey and a full rich finish. Very dry it seems today. NZ$17. 30Apr02.
Kraft Sauvignon Blanc 2001
Zesty lime, peppery spice, green apple and tropical fruits. Fairly high acid. 10Mar02.
Barossa Vines Semillon 2001
Unwooded style. Seems quite spicy, or is that the paté? 10Mar02.
Zerk Semillon 2001
50/50 oak and tank. Honey and vanilla oak aromas and broad semillon flavours but oak dominates. OK match with the dried fruits on the plate. 10Mar02.
Broad peach, apricot and pineapple flavours in palate enhanced by a warm mealiness and subtle cedary oak. There's a touch of guava in there too. There's a spicy cedary finish that lingers with flavours of dried tropical fruits. This has evolved very well in the last couple of months and drinking very well today. NZ$17. 30Apr02.
Barossa Vines Chardonnay 2001
Full, peachy, nutty and a little grapefruit/yeasty sourness. Seems quite high in alcohol. Not my preference. 10Mar02.
Summers Eden Valley & Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2001
Nice oak and mellow malo and melon flavours. Very dry, full, nutty with good fruit sweetness. A nice full-bodied style. Yes I could drink this. 10Mar02.
Hillcott Merlot 2000
Lovely sweet plum and eucalypt aromas. Chocolate, spice, plum, mulberries and cassis, very lifted bright and flavorsome. Warm and velvety with soft ripe tannins. 10Mar02.
Cameron Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
Quite big tannins in this cassis and blackberry wine that has a sweet hint of mint on the big berry finish. Good wine with integrated oak and exc. with aged cheddar. 10Mar02.
Barossa Vines Shiraz 2000
Lovely sweet fruit with eucalypt. Minty, smoky, meaty nose, touch of leather savouriness with musky pepper spice. 10Mar02.
Miamba Shiraz 1999
Nice peppery flavours on plum and raspberry with a creamy backbone. Good finish. Medium weight style for a Barossa Shiraz. Drinking well now. New & older Fr & Am oak. 10Mar02.
I like the aromas in the big glass that I am privileged to drink out of today. There's spice with lots of oak . It seems quite hot at first in the palate. It settles down and I like the raspberry and cherry with a touch of blueberry, the warm creamy oak and a hint of chocolate on the warm lingering finish. NZ$25. 30Apr02.
Filsell Shiraz 1999
Lovely creamy, vanillin, nutty attractive oak. Spice, mint, chocolate. Rich and creamy with blackberry fruit. Looking very good. I love the way this wine has opened up over the last 6 months. American oak, 60% new. 10Mar02.
Filsell Shiraz 2000
Quite intense black fruit aromas. Lovely rich dense leathery licorice flavours with smooth creamy oak and absolutely ripe plum and prune fruit that is almost raisin in its ripeness. A myriad of spices - vanilla, pepper, cinnamon and clove. Intense, smooth and long with super concentration and the lift of violets on the creamy textured fruit-filled finish. A truly super wine that befits its smart new label. NZ$34 - a bargain for a wine of this quality. 30Apr02.
The fruit for this wine comes from the Filsell vineyard that was planted in 1925.
The Holy Trinity 1998
Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre. Mocha and pepper spice at first. Big fruit, leathery spice, plenty of alcohol, lovely mouthfilling flavours. Juicy raspberry, plum, mint, licorice, musk and floral notes on finish. French oak regime adds complexity without intruding. 10Mar02.
Today I get chocolate and mocha on the cedary nose. There's sweet jammy fruit and thick creamy oak with a lovely spice regime that includes white pepper and cinnamon. Very ripe, slightly savoury and a hint of orange citrus that together with the chocolate gives a jaffa intrigue to the finish. NZ$45. 30Apr02.
Shadrach Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
Violety cassis and leather. A big wine again. Lovely thick chocolatey tannins. Lovely integration. Very fine and powerful. French oak, 73% new. 10Mar02.
Today quite thick and dense with choc-mint and ripe juicy blackcurrants, spicy dense oak, a cigar box / tobacco character, lifted fruit, touch of tar, firm thick tannins and a very very long fine and vinous smoky finish with cassis flavours lingering. This is a wine that will reward cellaring. NZ$57. 30Apr02.
Meshach Shiraz 1998
Very fine vinous character. Lovely vanillin tones running through the wine. Concentrated, rich full-bodied wine with great mouthfeel and length. One of the best wines so far on this trip. Mocha, sweet oak, ripe tannins. Just gorgeous. 10Mar02.
Big, dense, dark chocolate and mocha oak aromas. It is overpowered by the oak but look beyond this to get intense ripe blackberry with an interesting savoury leathery nuance. Vibrant pepper and clove-like spice emerges on the finish. This is a huge huge wine with wonderful potential. I fantastise about pulling this out of the cellar in 20 years time. NZ $125. 30Apr02.
"Wine depends on the mood you are in. With great wine you can get excited just by smelling it.", says Craig. Well said!
Also tasted in Australia . . .
Lily Farm Frontignac 2001
Sweet! Fresh and spicy unoaked grapey wine lacking a little acid. 10Mar02.
Eden Valley Reserve Gewurz 2001
This was a surprise to find a dry gerwurz with classic gewurz aromas and spicy flavours. The Eden Valley looks like it has potential for this variety. This wine is regarded as 'experimental'.
A note on the naming of Grant Burge Wines.
Many wines take the names of the vineyards they are sourced from.
Cameron Vale, Filsell, Hillcott, Lily Farm and Zerk are names are the families who planted and nurtured the vineyards. Kraft, Thorn, Holy Trinity, and Miamba are also names of vineyards.
Shadrach, Meshach and The Holy Trinity are icons in the Grant Burge range of wines - the flagship wines for their varieties.