Saturday, July 25, 2009


When the Adelaide Hill's two most prestigious makers of pinot noir; Barratt and Ashton Hills, invited participants up to their cellar doors this weekend, for winemaker hosted, vertical tastings of their best wines, it presented an opportunity to better understand South Australian pinot noir, that was simply too good to be missed.

The day, unfortunately, was saddened by the recent passing of Peta; the charismatic, bubbly wife of my South Australian pinot noir making hero Stephen George (pictured with his proud collection of pinot noir), who passed away in her sleep unexpectedly last week. They say behind every good man is a good woman, and in this case, it's particularly true.

Anyone who's ever visited the Ashton Hills cellar door will attest, that Peta was a magnificent, larger than life personality with a genuine heart. In my opinion - and I'm not just saying this - she was the best cellar door hand I've ever encountered. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

Peta treated and poured Ashton Hills wines with a passion and flair unmatched by any in the industry. She backed up her considerable personal charm with outstanding wisdom and knowledge of the industry. Even the most novice of wine drinkers couldn't help but walk away from the Ashton Hills cellar door with an enlightening, memorable wine experience, both mentally and spiritually.

Without doubt, Peta left a lasting imprint on all who had the joy of meeting her. I honestly can't recall a more talked about, loved cellar door hand in South Australia.

Peta personally taught me how to spit wine, using the 'dry swallow' technique, the first time I met her. I think I might start using that technique a few more times, just for you Peta.

Massive thanks must go out to Stephen George for bravely pushing on with his pinot noir vertical tasting this weekend, you did an excellent job Stephen.

Tasting notes for the day have been posted below.


  1. busy weekend tasting for you chris?
    I do recall peta at ashton hills she was a lovely lady always cracking jokes and full of real energy. ur right. she'll be sorely missed
    Could you recommend a cheap pinot for me chris? I just can't find a good one

  2. Peta certainly left a lasting memory on all who met her....

    To answer your question I think De Bortoli's 2008 Windy Peak Pinot Noir ($12rrp) is very hard to beat for the price. But I'd much rather see you look out for Tamar Ridge's 2007 Kayena Vineyard ($22), it's a fraction more money but damn fine value nonetheless.

    Thanks for dropping by

  3. Hey Chris,

    Only met Peta once but she of course made a huge impression. Steve too. Met your mate Casey at a soccer game (his lil bros)and he suggested I look you up on your blog - couldn't find an email address though.

    I grow grapes and make wine in McLaren Vale. email me on to catch up for a glass of wine or if you'll be in the hood. You're doing a great job w/ your blog!



  4. Hey Dudley thanks for dropping by!

    Casey is a true friend of mine, an absolute champion! He's one of a handful of people who actually get an intellectual say on this site.

    Funnily enough I'll be back in McLaren Vale on Sunday August the 9th. I'll drop you a line via email if you're interested to catch up for a drink/tasting. It'll be good to have a chat...

    Thanks again
    Chris Plummer

  5. Sad indeed. Peta was great during my brief trip to Ashton Hills earlier this year when I visit Australia. Not only did she take a lot of time explaining all of the Ashton Hills wines during my visit, she took the time show me around the grounds and even helped me look for a koala bear that spends time on their property. Unfortunately, the koala was MIA that day, but I really appreciated her time that afternoon.