The food-heavy festival is making a conscious attempt to inject more liquidity into its program, with a series of masterclasses hosted by East End Cellars leading the way.
The masterclasses, to be held in the festival’s Victoria Square hub, will include plenty for the traditionalist wine drinker, notably a 10-vintage tasting of Rockford’s coveted Basket Press Shiraz, led by Rockford winemaker Robert O’Callaghan, a similar tasting of Penfold’s St Henri Shiraz, and an epic showing of Grange featuring six wines, each from a different decade, coming direct from the Magill Estate cellars.
However, more contemporary tastes and styles will also be catered for with Adelaide Hills up-and-comer Taras Ochota making an appearance, along with a special session on “Pet Nat” or “naturally sparkling” wines.
The other sessions include a wide cross-section of South Australian wine styles and talent (scroll down for the full program), from Grenache to Riesling, sparkling and “natural” wines.
Other Tasting Australia wine events include The Fruitful Pursuit’s “Great Wine Voyage” on Sunday, April 30, which will give attendees the chance to blind taste South Australian wines against their most acclaimed global competitors.
The PIRSA-supported event, styled as a celebration of Adelaide’s buy-in to the Great Wine Capitals network, is pitched as a “journey” from the Napa to Bordeaux, Verona to Valparaìso and Mendoza to Rioja. Nine Adelaide venues will each represent one of the world’s Great Wine Capitals, pouring two (50ml) tastings that compare a locally-produced wine with an established version from each respective region.
Tasting Australia creative director Simon Bryant said “no food or produce story is complete without beverages”.
“I am always excited to talk about flavour, process, inspiration and origin, and I think that’s what Tasting Australia will offer through the East End Cellars masterclasses and tastings, and the Great Wine Voyage,” he said.
The festival, which begins at the end of April, will also include events on craft beer, an entire day dedicated to artisanal gin, “Sunday Cider Sessions”, free tastings, bars and a bottleshop in the Victoria Square hub devised by the East End Cellars team.
Tickets go on sale tonight.
EAST END CELLARS MASTERCLASSES
Sunday, April 30
Steve Flamsteed (Giant Steps) and Michael Downer (Murdoch Hill Wines) showcase their current releases. $60
Tuesday, May 2
Australian Grenache showdown with Robert Hill Smith (Yalumba, Barossa) versus Stephen Pannell (S.C. Pannell) and Chester Osborn (D’Arenberg) of McLaren Vale, hosted by Nick Ryan. $75
‘Skinny-Dip’ Wines made on skins: Lucy Margaux Vineyards, Shobbrook Wines and Brash Higgins. $40
Wednesday, May 3
10 vintages of Rockford Basket Press Shiraz with winemaker Robert O’Callaghan, John Harms (writer) and Nick Ryan (journalist). $185
The Surprise Session – for bold wine drinkers with Taras Ochota (Ochota Barrels) and Rajat Parr (Sandhi Wines, Domaine de la Côte, US). $50
Pet Nat wines on show – for the progressive wine drinker, with Brendon Keys (BK Wines) Wines and James Erskine (Jauma Wines). $50
Thursday, May 4
Examination of Australian Pinot Noir featuring 12 wineries from across the country, with Mac Forbes (Mac Forbes wines) and Peter Dredge ( Dr Edge and Bay of Fires). $120
10 vintages of Penfolds St Henri Shiraz, sourced direct from the cellars of Magill Estate. $350
Friday, May 5
Seriously Sparkling: a journey through all things sparkling with Kate Laurie (Deviation Road) and Simon Greenleaf (Simon Greenleaf wines), hosted by Mike Bennie. $100
Naturally Good: a tasting of natural wines with two McLaren Vale heavyweights, Jock Bosworth (Battle of Bosworth) and Peter Fraser (Yangarra Estate). $40
Saturday, May 6
The King and Queen of Riesling: an in-depth tasting with Egon Müller (Weingut Egon Müller, Germany), Kerri Thompson (Wines by KT) and Tim Adams (Tim Adams Wines). $75
Grange Experience: an opportunity to taste six different vintages of Grange from six different decades. $950
Sunday, May 7
10 Years of Wendouree with Stephen George (Ashton Hills) and Colin McBryde (Adelina), hosted by Nick Stock. $200