Inside the Barossa Valley

Barossa winemaking has come a long way since the days of chasing Parker points, finds Jeni Port

Susan Yelland and Michael Papps, Barossa Valley
Susan Yelland and Michael Papps, Barossa Valley

It came out of the east, travelled fast, seduced the winemakers of the Barossa and then it was gone. The aftershock from the 1990s whirlwind that was Robert Parker, who handed out 100 points like confetti to high-octane Barossa reds, is still being felt. Success and what followed took a toll on the region and its signature reds. 

“Cartoon-like wines with huge extract, ripeness, alcohol, oak and colour density were the flagships, largely due to the lucrative American market which was for a time blown away by such styles,” says Phil Lehmann of Barossa Valley label Max & Me. “And the wines were so regionally identifiable and lacking in traditional elegance and finesse, they became the punchline of many a vinous joke.”

After the consumer and wine critic backlash, the winemakers of the Barossa are now staging a comeback. 

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