‘Shiraz might be the poster boy for the Barossa, but we believe blending it with grenache and mataro produces the best drinking wines from this region. Thanks to our good mates the Riebke brothers and other Barossa growers whose families have stuck by these varieties for 100 years or more, we’re privileged to have fruit from very old vines to make our GMS blends.
In 2002, our first vintage, we had two cracks at this blend, the Avatar take on it involving ageing the wine in seasoned (used) oak for 12 months. The exact blend might change each vintage, but the recipe doesn’t vary much – grenache (about 50%) for spice and bright red fruits, mataro (30%) for some savoury earthiness and depth, shiraz (20%) for plump plum and rich black fruit. The use of old oak ensures that it serves only as a seasoning to add complexity and savoury nuance. With vines this old, we want the fruit and earth to speak with the clearest voice.’ – Kym Teusner.
Colonel William Light, the South Australian colony’s Surveyor-General, named the Barossa in 1837 after the site of an English victory over the French in the Spanish Peninsular War. In the mid-1800’s Silesian and English immigrants settled in the area. The Barossa itself comprises two distinct sub-regions: Eden Valley and the warmer Barossa Valley floor at 270m.The Barossa Valley enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate characterised by hot dry summers and relatively low rainfall. Cool sea breezes from the Gulf of St Vincent modify the temperature, however hot northerly winds can occasionally dominate creating considerable vine stress. Many older established vineyards are dry-grown, but supplementary irrigation is also extensively used. The valley is comprised of rich brown soils and alluvial sands. A long history of uninterrupted viticulture in the area means the Barossa valley is home to Australia’s largest concentration of old-vine Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre with many over 100 years old. Although most famous for Shiraz, the Barossa can also produce fragrant and deliciously fruity Grenache blends and beautifully rich, chocolatey Cabernet Sauvignons.