Barossa Valley tour, January 2011, part 1(a)

January 30, 2011 at 5:55 am Leave a comment

What a few days we’ve had! We’ve just recently got home and I’m writing this post, flopped on the couch in Sydney, following a really fantastic few days in the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and Adelaide. I’ve got so much to tell you, but will try to do in brief – an overview follows. This post is the first in a series of three about the trip which I’ll publish this week.

Trip highlights – a few words and lots of pictures!

Lunch at the Lord Lyndoch
Lunch on Australia Day is the first proper meal of our trip, and a great opportunity to celebrate Nanna G’s birthday. The Lord Lyndoch is a good spot to stop into for lunch. Between the four of us, we had two schnitzels (or schnitties as the locals call them); fish and chips, and veggie skewers. Of course, since we were on holidays, it was also important to wet the whistle with a cool Coopers or glass of local red – handy for washing down the considerably sized meals.

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Cheers! The birthday girl with her Schiller Shiraz – a good little drop!

Sting and the South Australian sunset
We continue celebrating Nanna G’s birthday by attending one of Sting’s Symphonicity tour concerts at Barossa Arts and Convention Centre. Singing along with Sting (who is looking so extraordinarily good and singing exceptionally well for his almost 60 years btw) as he croons the night away on Australia Day, supported by the Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra and a band of his usual musicians. Backing vocals are by Adelaide girl, Jo Lawry, who spills chills down our spines with her amazing voice. All this, set against the spectacular South Australian sunset – pinks, reds, oranges – with good food and wine from local producers. So, so good!

To get an understanding of what I’m saying about Sting and Jo Lawry, watch this clip on Youtube which was filmed at one of the Berlin concerts last year.

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Sting, belting out a tune

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Part of the crowd and some of the sunset

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Jo Lawry – www.jolawry.com

Touring Barossa wineries in a 1962 Daimler – what a way to travel!
Thanks to Nanna G who scoured the interwebs and found details of this tour, then booked us in with the magnificent John Baldwin (of Barossa Daimler Tours) and the promise of half a day in his mint conditioned 1962 Daimler.

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Mr L, me, Nanna G and Pa, next to “Mum”, one of glorious old John’s Daimlers

Those who know me well, know of my love for old Jaguars and Daimlers. You can imagine my delight when John arrives out front of our cottage on Thursday afternoon in the beautiful old, black Daimler you see below. The car, known as “Mum” because it was responsible at one point for carrying the Queen Mother, was originally owned by the Governor of South Australia and is one of a very small line of Daimlers made in 1962 (about 60 I think). John owns two of them that he uses for tours – the other is called Margaret, because it was used to tour Princess Margaret in the sixties – and with his great Daimler knowledge and ability to hand fabricate and fit parts, he is just the right person to treat these magical old girls with the respect they deserve.

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Mr L and John sit up front as we leave the cottage for our tour

Furthermore, his twirly moustache, cheeky humour, exceptional knowledge of food and wine both locally and afar, makes an afternoon riding with John an indulgent delight! He knows the people at all the wineries we visit and have intimate tasting sessions at the smaller wineries and also visit some of the larger ones. We get to meet wine makers and their families. One of my favourite meetings is at our first stop, where we meet Willoughby, the 10 week old puppy of Charles and Jennie Cimicky at Charles Cimicky Wines.

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Jennie and Willoughby Cimicky at Charles Cimicky Wines

Little Willoughby Cimicky

Above: Willoughby (so, so cute!), taken by Mr L

We move onto Grant Burge, then Turkey Flat vineyards and on the way, find lots of interesting flora: an actual cork tree (I’ve never seen one in Australia before), quinces, persimmons and of course, loads of grapes!

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John Baldwin points out quinces outside Turkey Flats cellar door

We stop into Yalumba for a quick tasting before heading onto Maggie Beer’s farm shop for what we think will be afternoon tea. It’s a beautiful old winery and reminds Mr L and me of Domaine Chandon in Nappa Valley, California.

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Inside, we meet an unlikely friend – a little bear that’s been taxidermied and now has the sole job of holding a tray in his paws. He’s also petitioning to raise funds to aid victims of the Queensland floods. So I lay down my coins (we contributed a rather more princely sum online a couple of weeks back) and then took the opportunity to have a selfie with mr bear. I know it’s immature, but it makes me laugh every time I look at it, so here it is for your amusement too:

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Not sure who looks happier – me or the bear?

We exit Yalumba and move onto Maggie Beer’s farm shop, but not before a golden opportunity arises… I snap this shot of Mr L, heady from a few solid hours of wine tasting, standing under the sign which reads “Le Piste”. (I thought it was funny even if it doesn’t actually translate the way it sounds!)

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Mr L and the sign reading Le Piste

We head to Maggie’s farm shop and it’s at this point that we have a breathtaking, spontaneous meeting with none other than Maggie Beer herself. I know I’ve already written about it – so I won’t reproduce that post, but you can read about that exciting encounter here. What I will do is reproduce the photo – cos I’m a bit of a skite about this particular encounter and, well I’m a bit proud too!

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The wonderful Maggie Beer (right) and me at Maggie’s Farm Shop

Before I end this section, I really must recommend John Baldwin’s Barossa Daimler tours to you wholeheartedly. Not only does John have an extraordinarily well rounded knowledge of his local wine country, he is well travelled and knows a lot about a whole lot of stuff. At John’s suggestion, we rotated the front seated passenger each time we stopped and he had interesting conversation to entertain each of us with, regardless of our personalities, interests and tastes.

The other thing, of course, is that travelling around in John’s air conditioned Daimler is just such a splendid way to get around. I liked this testimonial that I read in Barossa Daimler Tours’ marketing material before we booked the trip as I rather fancy myself in the same scenario:

When I die, if I have been good, I hope to find myself in the back of John’s Daimler on an eternal tour of the glorious wineries of the Barossa.” Susan Attwood, – The Sunday Telegraph.  UK


If you plan on visiting the Barossa at some point in the future, I’d absolutely suggest you look John Baldwin up – for a tour of local wineries, or of the marvellous old architecture in the region via www.barossadaimlertours.com.au.

More spectacular sunsets and quiet time at Barossa Shiraz Estate
We stayed amongst the vines at Barossa Shiraz Estate, Lyndoch in the Willows cottage. Whilst we would usually choose to stay somewhere a bit more modern (and with fewer doilies) the cottage was extremely well appointed and we did not want for anything. We were so well looked after with breakfast provisions that we only made it through half of what we’d been given. The bathrooms were stocked with loads of shampoo, conditioner, towels and the like. We were also given complementary wine and port, and fresh chocolate muffins to keep us going.

A few entertaining areas existed, so we spread our dinners around to the cottage’s various locations and on this particular night, sat outside while the sun set, eating delicious local produce and drinking superb Barossa wines that we’d collected on our travels with John. All in all, life was pretty darned good!

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View of the vines in the foreground, looking to the hills of Eden Valley in the background

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Another of those spectacular South Australian sunsets – magical!

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Entry filed under: Adelaide, australia, Barossa Valley, Beers, Family, Lunch, Travelling. Tags: , , , , .

Mm.. mmm.. mmmmm… meeting Maggie Beer! Barossa Valley tour, January 2011, part 2

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