WITH so many Australian labels flooding the market, it's easy to think you know it all when it comes to wines from Down Under.
Yet in recent years, new names have surfaced, such as the rising popularity of Heathcote (where the big wine companies are already buying grapes from), or Finniss River, where Austrian wine producer Bertold Salomon has staked his claim, crafting delicious, rich Shirazes.
When I first met Rod and Toni Gregory of Barley Stacks winery during South Australian Masterpieces 2003 in Singapore, a wine exhibition that featured boutique wineries by local wine distributor Ninth Vine, I was impressed enough to add on yet another wine region to my list - Yorke Peninsula.
It may be situated in South Australia (an area most people have come to associate with wine, thanks to famous areas such as Barossa), but Yorke Peninsula's touristy reputation is based more on its long sandy beaches and quaint historic copper mining towns.
However, as Toni Gregory shared with me, the rich limestone soils and agricultural knowledge that earned Yorke Peninsula the title of 'Barley Capital of the World' can also be applied to wine.
Banking on these properties, the couple decided to turn their barley-growing properties into vineyards. This, despite the challenges of having to source for water and build their own irrigation.
Nevertheless, they are proud that they are the first - and so far, only winery in Yorke Peninsula.
Blame it on a vivid imagination, but I've always found malted barley notes on the nose of wines from Barley Stacks. Aromas of chocolate, spice and savoury flavours on the palate. Drink soon.
This is a definite food wine. Serve at barbecues or with braised duck dishes.
The Ninth Vine, Tel: 6276-9595