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.