Adventures in Jacob’s Creek, Australia
Having dabbled our toes in the Australian, Barossa Valley experience on the first day, on the second we jumped in head first!
It’s a little picture heavy so you might want to grab a cuppa (or perhaps a glass of wine!)
We awoke with the birds. Becoming a “Guest of Jacob’s Creek” means really immersing yourself in the world of Jacob’s Creek.
Rather than staying in some hotel down the road, we slept in William Jacob ‘s cottage (where he lived in 1840) on the grounds. Surrounded by vineyards, old ruins, cork trees and olive groves, it’s the most peaceful of places to wake up.
With a little help from chirping crickets, singing birds and a touch of jet-lag, we watched the sunrise.
Jo arrived for a little early morning yoga.
Which was sorely needed after such a long flight!
Having had a good stretch out, the chap and I tucked into breakfast and drank tea on the porch.
Got wrapped up in woolies (it is winter over here after all) and raced off to our first appointment of the day.
A whizz over the Barossa Valley and a chance to get an idea of the scale of the place.
Up we shot, like a leaf caught in the breeze.
Hovered for a moment and floated off to explore the valley.
I have never seen countryside like it.
So rich, varied, and utterly, utterly… vast.
There’s something so wonderfully pleasing about the regimented vineyards melting into rolling green hills.
One of us was more than a little excited by the experience!
Wishing Star necklace // Blossom ring
We landed at The Jacob’s Creek winery in Tanunda, where the red wines are made.
It really brought the story of Jacob’s Creek to life. To see where the grown, crushed, barrelled, aged and made into what we drink with supper.
We saw the traditional presses, still holding onto the grape skins from harvest a few weeks ago.
Got our hands on the wood used to make the all important wine barrels.
And visited the ageing wines themselves.
That is a lot of wine!
Thankfully I came prepared.
Here we met Dan Swincer, a Jacob’s Creek Red Winemaker.
What this man doesn’t know about red wine isn’t worth knowing!
He’ll happily fill your glass with the good stuff and fill your mind with history, science and wine trivia.
We tasted various parcels of Barossa Shiraz and Jacob’s Creek Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon matured in different oak barrels to really show how different kinds of oak influence the wine.
It’s incredible how every stage of the winemaking process is so integral to the end result.
And truly special to meet the people who are so passionate about getting it right. Every drop is sacred to these guys, and that sort of attitude is infectious!
I can see why the “Made By” campaign is so important to them.
My favourite wines of the entire trip were “Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel” varieties.
Winemakers take big rich red wines, mature them in traditional wine oak barrels, and then finish them in whiskey barrels.
Whisky barrels are quite different from wine barrels, being made from coarser oak, with narrower staves and then toasted inside until they are charred.
When wines are finished in whiskey barrels the mouth feel softens noticeably and interesting nuances appear on the palate.
Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz is finished in Scotch whisky barrels while Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon is finished in Irish whiskey barrels.
Both are exceptional. They’ve already launched in Australia, but you should be able to get your hands on them back home later this year.
Having had our fill of red wine (I know, I wasn’t sure that was possible either. Don’t worry, it was a only temporary.) We made our way back to Jacob’s Cottage.
There in the kitchen garden we found Jacob’s Creek’s Executive Chef; Genevieve Harris. Ready to teach us a few of her favourite recipes, with ingredients from her well tended garden.
(If I could steal Genevieve away, I would. She is one of the warmest, most knowledgable and lovely chefs I’ve ever met. I could talk to her about food all day long! And almost did. So it’s fair to say I was pretty excited about this part of the trip!)
We started with a very simple, fragrant soup.
3 small red shallots
3 cloves garlic
4cm piece ginger
2 large red chillies
75 ml vegetable oil for cooking
1 teaspoon sesame oil for cooking
2 sweet potatoes
2 teaspoon ground cumin seed
2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
400ml coconut milk
150g red lentils
125ml fish sauce
50ml lime or lemon juice
40g palm sugar – personally I would leave this out, but it’s up to you.
Peel and roughly chop shallots, garlic and ginger. Chop chillies and blend all four ingredients to a fine paste.
In a large saucepan heat both of the oils, add paste and cook until golden.
Peel and grate the carrots and sweet potato and add to the saucepan. Stir and cook again until golden. Add the spices, stir then add the coconut milk and water. Bring to the boil, add the lentils, stir then reduce heat to a simmer.
Cook for approximately 20-30 minutes until lentils are soft. Season with fish sauce, juice and palm sugar. When serving add fresh coriander leaves.
While we waited for it to cook, we went for a little stroll around the garden.
We talked about Genevieve’s plan for the garden, the cookery courses she runs here, the food she cooks at the Visitor Centre, harvesting and the importance of bees.
We walked the avenue of cork trees.
And discussed our mutual wish for vegetable gardens with chickens and bee hives.
A girl can dream!
We served up the soup.
Adding a little swirl of coriander pesto on top.
Went into the barn where the fire had been lit, and the table all set.
The wine was poured and we all continued to chatter away between spoonfuls of rich, spicy, herby soup.
Genevieve and I left the others chatting and went back into the garden for the main course.
Seared snapper with chickpea, seeds and nut salad.
4 pieces snapper
pinch sumac, salt and black pepper
400g cooked chickpeas
2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons roasted, chopped almonds
1 tablespoon roasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon barberries
2 tablespoons currants
1 cup mint and parsley leaves
½ lemon, juiced
50ml olive oil
salt and black pepper
500g plain yoghurt
100ml pomegranate molasses
pinch sumac, salt and black pepper
Mix together all the salad ingredients.
Season the fish.
Cook the snapper on a bbq plate or frypan on both sides until just cooked.
(God, I would love one of these grills in my kitchen!)
Divide the salad between four plates then place the snapper on top. Drizzle over the yoghurt dressing and serve.
After lunch we strolled through the vines to walk it off.
Turns out we weren’t the only ones!
We got up to a little more mischief in the afternoon, but more on that tomorrow.
I could keep wittering on all day, but I have a feeling your scrolling hand might give out soon!
I was working with Jacob’s Creek to show the sort of experiences that everyone can enjoy on a trip to The Barossa. You can book a cookery class, or a wine tour, online, any time.
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