The Barossa & Beyond Wines

The Madison Tasters Club is a monthly tasting group comprised of non-industry, non-professional consumers of wine. The group is moderated by a professional Sommelier who selects the evening’s wines. Each month the group will taste six selections with a specific theme. The goal of the Madison Tasters Club is to educate, evaluate and create tasting notes to share the consumer’s perspective with a broader audience on the Bottle Pros blog.

The third gathering of the Madison Tasters Club was on December 19th with the topic, South Australia, The Barossa and Beyond Wines. The group was asked specific questions about each wine regarding visual, aromatic and palate impressions. Notes have been compiled based on the group’s impressions with the most common answers used as well as a few quotes from participants.

Alpha Box & Dice, Semillon-Viognier “Golden Mullet Fury” 2015

Technical Data: This is a wine made with 68% Semillon and 32% Viognier grown in McLaren Vale. The grapes are placed in same vat after harvesting and the wine is co-fermented on their skins for three weeks before spending 18 months in oak. This style of wine was a new experience for all at the table. It is in a category of wines dubbed as “Natural Wines” or “Orange Wines”, made from white grapes that undergo fermentation with the skins in contact with the juice just as in red winemaking. This gives the wine an orange color and distinctive flavor profiles associated with the style.

Group Impressions: “Golden Mullet Fury” poured hazy orange in color. It has slightly funky green aromas of hay and grass with subtle notes of almond and citrus. The palate is lush and honeyed in texture. Lively fruit characters of apricot, guava and lychee emerge and the wine expresses a bit of green pepper and herbal thyme.


“It’s funky, different, has good weight.”

“Deceptively easy to drink, a great change-up.”

“It grows on you.”

Greg Norman Estates Chardonnay Eden Valley 2016

Technical Data: This 100% Barossa Valley Chardonnay that is temperature control fermented in French oak barriques allowing for the highest concentration of fruit flavor to marry elegantly with the subtle but supportive vanilla oak spice. Maturation on lees in barrel for 10 months with regular stirring helped to keep the wines fresh and build finesse balance and texture.

Group Impressions:  This Chardonnay poured pale yellow with green hues. The nose reveals lime and citrus with stone fruits and subtle vanilla from the judicious use of oak. On the palate apple and peach characters mingle. The wine has a smooth creaminess to it with just enough oak to compliment the bright nature of the fruit.


“It has a smooth creamy taste.”

“Good backyard deck summer wine with fruit.”

Tait Family Winery, “The Ball Buster” 2015

Technical Data:  Comprised of 80% Shiraz, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot the grapes for this wine are de-stemmed into open fermenters. Plunging and or pumping over takes place 3 times a day. The wine is then pressed using a Basket Press. Juice is then transferred to tank or Barrel to undergo Malo-lactic fermentation. Each batch is kept separate to determine on a year by year basis the quality of the fruit from that vineyard. All wine is racked and returned to barrel 2 to 3 times during the 12-month period to ensure a clean wine that does not need any fining or filtration.

Group Impressions: This blended red is ruby in color with a bit of brownish-brick around the rim. Aromas of violets and red cherries leap from the glass with tasters finding a variety of subtle nuances from roast meat to coffee, chocolate, and leather. The wine is full bodied with firm tannins and a pronounced alcohol and a pleasant dense mouthfeel. A mix of plum and cherry fruit show on the palate touched by black pepper spice.


“Loved it, it is such a mouthfeel, black fruit inspired.”

“Chewy, lingers on the palate.”

“Great mouthfeel.”

“Excellent bite, lingering.”

Yangarra Old Vine Grenache 2014

Technical Data: Produced from 100% Old Bush Vine Grenache grown in a vineyard planted in 1946. The grapes are open-fermented with 50% whole berries, wild yeast, matured in used French oak for 9 months.

Group Impressions: This powerful red is scented with violets and clove spice on the nose. The palate offers generous plum and black cherry wrapped in a ripe, full, luscious package. The tannins in this wine linger in a long, amiable finish.


“Ripe, full, luscious.”


“Interesting, spicy floral character.”
“Picture it with a filet mignon or beef wellington.”

Hewitson GSM, “Miss Harry”  2015

Technical Data: Hewitson, “Miss Harry” GSM is a blend of 62% Grenache, 16% Shiraz, 14% Mourvèdre, 7% Cinsault & 1% Carignan. Prior to bottling the wine is aged in seasoned French oak barriques for 12 months.

Group Impressions: A medium bodied red wine offering red fruit characters on the nose and palate. It is fruit forward with red cherry and raspberry fruit touched by hints of cinnamon spice. The wine finishes long with well-integrated, dusty tannins.


“Subtle, warm body, nice with cheese, perhaps red meat.”

“Easy drinking, soft like a pillow.”

“This is the horse in the stable, very contained, tamer than the others, long finish.”

Mollydooker Shiraz, “The Boxer” 2017

Technical Data: 100% Shiraz barrel fermented and matured in 100% American oak which was 37% new; 59% 1yr old; 4% 2yr old.

Group Impressions: This big, bold, jammy wine is full in body with massive tannins and a whopping 16% ABV. The nose is redolent of red cherry and plum with an almost grapy aroma. The wine showed an array of complex aromas including rosemary, anis, clove and chocolate with fruit flavors of blackberries, black cherry and plum.


“Big, bold, jammy, sneaks up on you.”

“Flavors tickle the taste buds.”

“It’s intense!”