Saturday, 12 September 2015


Tonight I opened a bottle of Basedow's Barossa Valley Shiraz to go with the Spaghetti Bolognaise we were having (not normal Friday night fare for us but I didn't have the makings for home made fish and chips in the fridge and the local fish and chip shops are crap compared to what we've been used to).

Anyway, the Basedow's hit the spot amazingly well.

Focus, orientation and the lean all due to the fact that the label says 14.6% alcohol with the reality that it's probably over 15%

I bought it from Majestic wines under their new '6 bottle (mixed) discount plan'.
After a hefty discount this wine was just over 6 quid a bottle. A bargain.
To put it into context, at between 5 and 7 quid the supermarkets are offering some pretty ordinary wines from around the world and, in the case of Australia, at that price you get the insipid and rag tag offerings from Wolf Blass, Hardy's, and other big brands' irrigated region South Australia plonk. This wine was 'the real McCoy' from the Barossa with big, lipsticky and full-flavoured fruit with a serious amount of alcohol.

The thing that attracted me to it (after the price and the fact that it was a Barossa wine) was the fact that it had no marketing hype surrounding it. The label looks like it was made in the 1960's as if some guy thought to run off millions of them back then to cut costs and then for ever afterwards overprint them with updated vintages and other mandatory bits of information. It looks hokey but real.

Looking at the label tonight (no doubt through alcohol tinted spectacles, I was taken back to the early 1970's when I went to Oz with good friend Tony. We were working at the liquor wholesalers then and had a good interest in wine. At one point at the end of our trip we had virtually run out of money and were staying in a motor camp in Canberra shortly before our return to NZ.
We bought the makings of a decent but simple meal from a grocery store (bread, cheese, tomatoes etc) and also the only bottle of wine we could afford.
It was a Barossa Valley red (probably Shiraz and or Grenache) and cost us about $1.99. It was stunning.
Huge, teeth-stainingly red/black, jam-packed with flavour and numbingly alcoholic it set us up perfectly for the end of our holiday.
I remember that the label was a plain white background with, in bold red writing the words:

 100% RED WINE
No brand name. No embellishment except for the region - Barossa Valley and no marketing bullshit on the back label.

I loved that wine and still remember it.

A couple of decades later wines like that, from the Barossa, made from 100 year old bush vines of Shiraxz and Grenache became trendy. They were no longer the poor cousins of the wine world and started to command prices of $50 to $100 a bottle. I am certain that the origins of our $1.99 bottle were the same as these modern 'show ponies'


  1. Great to see you back. I'll send you over some fish n chips.

  2. " I am certain that the origins of our $1.99 bottle were the same as these modern 'show ponies'".
    I do not understand.