For Wine Blogging Wednesday #75, Single Vineyard wines, I wanted to write a special post that I haven’t yet had the chance to write, despite the fact I am writing of an experience that occurred nearly two years ago. Truth is, I’d had tasted the Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling a few times before, but on this particular day the wine was elevated in my mind in a way few others have managed. That is, of course, because I was sipping this Riesling as I was overlooking the Barossa Valley atop a special platform in the Steingarten Vineyard.
At the time I was just 23 years old with under a full year of experience in the wine business and had little to no opportunity to visit any wine regions. Luckily, I’m an opportunist. I was already planning a trip to visit my boyfriend, Geoff, who was studying in Australia at the time and decided to peg on a few extra days to explore wine country. After all, if you’re going to fly half way around the world, you might as well do everything you can, right? In full disclosure, Jacob’s Creek was then and is now a client of ours, but that make the trip even more compelling.
Geoff and I were scooped up from Adelaide the morning of April 28, 2010 by our guide who drove us to Jacob’s Creek. On the way we passed several kangaroos, a few emu, and hundreds of vines. The views were absolutely breathtaking and unfortunately neither pictures nor words do them any justice…but I’ve included a couple in this post just in case. We had no idea where we were going, really, and I can’t tell you how long it took to get there, but I assure you it was worth the drive.
One of our our first stops was the Steingarten vineyard which is nestled on a windy hillside within the valley. Our guide explained that Jacob’s Creek likes to bring visitors up there because you can see much of the Barossa Valley and to show the influence the cooling winds and the elevation have on the climate. We touched the soils, took some pictures, and then the real treat came. From his truck, James pulled out a bottle of Steingarten Riesling. He explained it’s a special thing they do for VIP visitors (first time anyone called me a VIP) and it was necessary we have a glass. No matter it was 10am, we happily obliged.
I have long since lost my tasting notes, what with two apartment changes across states since then, but I still remember it well. The Steingarten Riesling was dry and highly acidic bursting with floral notes and lime with an underlying minerality and delicate stone fruits…Despite the intense winds and rather chilly atmosphere, I could have stayed up there, drinking that glass of Riesling for hours if they let me… I might have even stayed the night (though I might need a kangaroo to keep me company.)
I am happy to say that, today, we are still working with Jacob’s Creek. It’s amazing how such a traditional wine brand in Australia can be so progressive at the
same time. Of course, it is also for this reason that they are still one of the best-known, and largest quality wine brands in the country.Over the past few years, I have had many, many outstanding Rieslings from all over the world and many have become permanent fixtures on my wine rack, but, unlike most, the Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling will always hold a special place in my heart.
A little about the wine from the winery:
“Jacob’s Creek Steingarten is the iconic super-premium ‘dry’ Riesling produced under the Jacob’s Creek label. The grapes are harvested from older Riesling blocks within the high altitude Barossa Ranges. These prized Riesling vineyards are of Easterly aspect, being protected from the afternoon sun by the surrounding hills and ranges. Soils are shallow over predominately fractured shale or schist rock, driving the classic minerally flavour of this wine. The Steingarten vineyard itself is a ‘unique’ Riesling vineyard in Australia. It is carefully managed using traditional, labour-intensive techniques to give maximum regional and varietal expression.”