May 01, 2017
This article is brought to you by Chris Ringland.
Chris Ringland’s expert guide on what to do and where to eat in the Barossa.
When it comes to touring a wine region, nothing beats local knowledge. And when it comes to the Barossa, who better to impart wisdom than winemaker Chris Ringland, who has lived there for more than 30 years.
Hire a bike
The Barossa is renowned for beautiful scenery and one of the best ways to explore it is by bike. Hire your wheels from Barossa Bike Hire in Nuriootpa, 500 metres from the start of the Nuriootpa-to-Angaston leg of the 40-kilometre Barossa Trail. An easy seven-kilometre ride, this section passes lush vineyards, pastures and native pine-tree groves.
Go on a helicopter ride
This experience gets top marks for genuine thrills as you’re strapped into a helicopter while soaring high above undulating hills, cruising over local landmarks and gazing at the stunning patchwork of vines below. Barossa Helicopters operates scenic flights that let you see the region from a unique perspective. When you’ve finished your airborne adventure, it seems only right to toast the exhilarating experience with a glass of Chris Ringland Sealed Shiraz.
Take a long lunch at Vintners Bar & Grill
“Vintners offers a grand wine-country lunch,” says Chris Ringland. Feast under a vine-covered pergola overlooking the picturesque garden or in the dining room of this restaurant just outside Angaston. Order a raw dish to start – perhaps the subtle gin-cured kingfish – then follow Ringland’s lead and have the beef ribs to share. “It’s impeccable,” he says. “And it goes so beautifully with our style of shiraz.”
Pairing suggestion: 2013 Chris Ringland Sealed Shiraz
The Sealed shiraz is a step up in quality and Barossa expression. The parcels that have been selected have riper, darker shiraz aromatics (blackberries, black, cherries, sweet spices and dark chocolate) and stronger oak vanillin to match. “I spend a lot of time visualising how people will encounter our wine,” says Chris Ringland. “Sealed is good for a special occasion.” This is a shiraz that’ll only improve over the years.
Visit the wineries
“I love creating ripe, lavish, Barossa shiraz,” says Ringland. Tastings with the winemaker are held only by request and take place at his home in Flaxman Valley. Sit at his elegant table, overlooking the vineyards and olive groves while sipping his assortment of “big and full bodied but also soft and approachable” reds. Why not do your tasting in style? A luxury car from Barossa Experience Tours will collect you from your hotel and chauffeur you to each destination on the region’s wine trail.
Ringland worked at Rockford as a winemaker for 15 years and credits the label with starting a “renaissance of Barossa shiraz”. The cellar door, housed in restored stone stables, is open daily. Be sure to try their renowned reds.
“Hutton Vale oozes rustic charm,” says Ringland. The 809-hectare working farm outside of Angaston boasts rolling pasture and soaring gums, as well as a premium vineyard. Taste select rieslings and reds by appointment.
Enjoy a romantic dinner at FermentAsian
“To me, this is a dinner restaurant; the food lends itself to the evening,” says Ringland. “That’s something I learnt when I worked in Spain – you can have a big lunch but dinner is best kept light.” Ringland’s menu recommendations for the intimate restaurant, housed in an elegant renovated stone cottage in Tanunda, include Hanoi spring rolls with herbs (“You have to have them!”); crisp pork belly with ginger and orange sauce (“There’d be a rebellion if it wasn’t on the menu”); and snapper in yellow curry (“It’s just extraordinary, mindblowing”). And, he adds, “This style of food goes so damn well with wine.”
Pairing suggestion: 2015 Chris Ringland CR Shiraz
This fruit-forward wine introduces consumers to an oak-dominant, structured, full shiraz. The nose has hints of sweet vanilla cream and distinct blueberry notes. As the wine opens up, classic Barossa-shiraz aromas of blackberry jam and milk chocolate assert themselves. Chris Ringland says it’s an “approachable Barossa shiraz” that will age well. “Bury it in the cellar for 10 years and when you pull it out, you’ll look like a hero.”