Sunday, May 20, 2012

Australia's Best Pizza

We'd chatted up some fellow members of Vancouver's Australian Wine Appreciation Society prior to our departure since we knew they'd visited the Barossa not all that long ago. We were hoping that they could give us a few tips on favourite wineries or places to eat. Their immediate - and exuberant - response on the food front was "some incrdible pizza joint" that they couldn't remember the name of. I ran the suggestion by local Barossan and party boy, Stuey Bourne, and he said that there was no question that they were talking about Roaring 40's Cafe.

And how do like the fact that it just happens to be located only a couple of miles from where we're staying? Bonus!

Add the fact that they had a half bottle of Rockford on the wine list and we were rocking. We'd hoped to fit in a visit to Rockford earlier in the day but that visit wasn't meant to be. At least we got to fit in a little Rockford wine after all. Double bonus.

1116. 2009 Rockford - Rifle Range Cabernet Sauvignon (Barossa Valley - Australia)

I can't say that I knew much about Rockford before this trip. We'd had the opportunity to try a Rockford wine at an AWAS dinner recently, but that was about it. At least three different parties, however, recommended that we visit the winery if we get the chance. As I mentioned in the last post, we tried but we arrived an hour before their cellar door opened and we didn't have another opportunity to get back there. That was a shame because I understand that owner and winemaker, Robert O'Callaghan, is another character of Aussie proportions.

Despite its museum like appearance, O'Callaghan built the winery to match up with the 1850's cottage that he bought with the property. He also collected - and makes his wines with - vintage 19th century equipment - most of which was obtained locally from other wineries as they began to modernize their own facilities. The story goes that he makes his wine "by hand with traditional methods, attitudes and equipment" that remind him of the wines that he grew up with in his youth.

Rockford's Basket Press Shiraz is apparently one the hardest Aussie wines to get your hands on. Tonight's wine list didn't offer a bottle, but I certainly didn't hesitate to grab the bottle of Cab - especially since it was the wine we'd tried at the AWAS dinner and it was Boo's favourite wine of the night. Tonight, we were matching it up to The Smokey, a pizza that features "everything you want in a pizza - meat, meat and more meat" - all good German premium smoked meat at that.

Boo and I had to chuckle when we saw the advert that proclaimed "Winner of Best Pizza in Australia." We were starting to wonder who kept giving out all these "Best of's..." awards because it certainly seemed that every store we went to offered something that had be declared somebody's or something's "Best." Good thing the pizza was indeed tasty.

I don't know if the Rockford has ever been voted "Best of..." but it was big in that Barossan way - with plenty of dark fruit and body. I don't think we'd have had any problem finishing off even more than our half bottle - despite the fact that we'd have to head back to the farm and start packing up for the morning's departure.

We were certainly glad for our little bit of Rockford, but that glass or two just left me a touch sad that we didn't get a chance to taste more at the winery itself. Hopefully, there'll be a next time and I'll plan out my timing better. I could go for another slice of pizza too.

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