Stimulating the senses in Barossa

Palms and vines … symbols of Seppeltsfield.I’m lost in a very, very special place … the historic cellars of Seppeltsfield, right in the heart of South Australia’s Barossa Valley.

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Around me are casks of port from every vintage since 1878, when Benno Seppelt, eldest son of Silesian-born Seppeltsfield founder Joseph, laid down a barrel of his best to commemorate the opening of the family’s new cellar. There are European wineries with older wines than this, but nowhere is there a collection that can match the Seppeltsfield continuum.

I’ve just found the cask of 1949, my birth year, and I am rewarded with a taste. The wine is a deep golden tawny colour and sticks to the side of the glass. Attempting to describe such an elixir in terms of other flavours is simply doing it an injustice. Let’s just say that it’s complex, multi-layered and absolutely delicious.

A unique collection … casks of fine old port in the cellars at Seppeltsfield

Each year, Seppeltsfield bottles and releases a small quantity of 100-year-old port and I’ve been lucky enough to taste several of these over the years. The flavours are in the same spectrum as those of the 1949, but multiplied several fold. Tasting these wines has always provided an ethereal, spine-tingling experience.

You can buy the current release — the 1917 at the cellar door. The price of $2000 for 375ml is actually quite a bargain, especially when you consider that the loss through evaporation — quaintly deemed the angels’ share — from a barrel over a hundred years is something like 80 per cent. Lucky angels!

Tasting these wines — and several other luscious aged gems — is just part of the Seppeltsfield Centenary Tour ($125), which also includes an hour or so exploring the historic buildings that hold Australia’s greatest trove of old, rare fortified wines.

The Barossans are deeply committed to local food and wine and are extremely proud of their food culture, a pride that has been made internationally famous by the likes of Maggie Beer.

Probably the best place to appreciate the strength of that culture is the Barossa Farmers Market, held each Saturday morning in Vintners Sheds in Angaston.

The Barossa Farmers Market … heart of a passionate local food culture.

It’s a lively, friendly place where bakers, cheesemongers, smallgoods manufacturers, butchers, olive growers, breeders of game birds, orchardists, gardeners and purveyors of various condiments trade cheek by jowl and compete with each other in spruiking the invaluable role of the Barossa as one of Australia’s great premium food bowls.

Accommodation wise, the Barossa Valley is packed with B&Bs and there’s the usual smattering of country pubs and family motels, but in terms of genuinely luxurious offerings it’s very hard to go beyond Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, just outside Rowland Flat, the village whose local stream, Jacob’s Creek, has placed it well and truly on the world’s vinous map.

Novotel Barossa Valley Resort … hard to go by in terms of genuinely luxurious offerings.

The Novotel offers a range of comfortable rooms, classy restaurant, fitness centre, heated outdoor pool, tennis courts, gymnasium and direct access to the adjacent 18-hole Tanunda Pines Golf Course.

And you really do need a vehicle to take advantage of the Barossa experience. It’s a relatively large place, based on a range of villages well worth visiting — Tanunda, Angaston and Lyndoch among them.

IF YOU GOSeppeltsfield Winery — Seppeltsfield Road, Seppeltsfield SA 5355; phone 08 8568 6200; 苏州美甲学校网seppeltsfield苏州美甲学校苏州美甲学校论坛

Barossa Farmers Market — Every Saturday 7.30am to 11.30am, Vintners Sheds, Corner Nooriootpa Road and Stockwell Road, Angaston SA 5353; phone 0402 026 882; barossafarmersmarket苏州美甲学校

Novotel Barossa Valley Resort — 42 Pioneer Avenue, via Golf Links Road, Rowland Flat SA 5352; phone 1300 657 697; 苏州美甲学校网novotelbarossa苏州美甲学校

Barossa Valley Tourism — Phone 1300 852 982; 苏州美甲学校网barossa苏州美甲学校

South Australian Tourism — Phone 1300 588 140; 苏州美甲学校网southaustralia苏州美甲学校

John Rozentalsis a freelance writer whose passions aretravel, food and wine. He lives at Molong in the Central West of NSW, from where he hostsOz Baby Boomers, a lifestyle-resource for mature Australians, and Molong Online.

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