There’s definitely something about lazing in the lap of luxury that makes savouring an elegant Grenache even more delicious… I’m surrounded by vines that wind up and over hills, watching them catch the glow of a setting sun while nibbling homemade fudge and honey biscuits. It’s a Thing of Beauty – as is my Tscharke Barossa Valley red.
While Shiraz is king in the Barossa Valley, Grenache has always shone in the background – ever since the first settlers brought bush vines from Prussia in the 1830s. The locals like to say: ‘Grenache delivers what Pinot promises.’
My magic moment is one of many I’m enjoying at The Louise, a luxury boutique lodge that makes guests feel comfortable and spoiled. It’s a star in one of Australia’s most famous wine regions.
All around the resort is a rich tapestry of colours and textures – vines that stretch to the horizon past gum-studded pockets of Aussie bushland. To the west, sunsets throw orange and purple into the sky. It’s spectacular from the pool.
The Louise also has impressive neighbours. Just across the road is Tscharke Wines and The Protagonist wine bar, plus Seppeltsfield Road Distillers (for a sneaky G&T).
Torbreck Vintners and David Franz Cellardoor are around the corner. While along palm-lined Seppeltsfield Road, past Two Hands, Izway and Hentley Farm is historic Seppeltsfield.
If it’s a famous Penfolds Grange or Henschke Hill of Grace that has drawn you to the Barossa, they are just minutes away.
A stylish stay
The Louise has had a few facelifts in its time, but nothing as dramatic as its latest transformation. The style is southern European with an earthy touch of Tuscany. Now part of the Baillie Lodges and Luxury Lodges of Australia families, it boasts a calming, understated elegance.
Each of the 15 villa-sized suites here offers a complete escape. They’re helped by three private courtyards, one at the entrance, my happy place facing the vines and an outdoor bathroom.
You’ll notice the attention to detail from the already lit fireplace to a minibar/coffee station stocked with local offerings (included in the price). The Louise also has its own brand of beautiful toiletries – and there’s even a TV in the bathroom.
The staff are impeccable. There’s no ‘falling over you’ – that’s just not Australian. But they will make your stay memorable for all the right reasons.
Food and wine
Dinner in Appellation restaurant is a highlight. Executive chef Asher Blackford features kitchen garden picks in a five-course degustation menu. Dishes can be matched with local wines and are served with stories of the producers.
Kingfish ceviche, tapioca saltbush and kimchi beignet snacks start the delicious journey – with no cutlery, ‘because it forces people to relax and lose the pretence’, says Blackford.
Our first feast includes beetroot-wrapped sheep feta then quail, lamb rump and ricotta with rhubarb and honeycomb.
Wine pairings offer a glimpse of the 40 grape varieties found in the Barossa. Our selection included: O’Leary Walker Hurtle Sparkling Pinot Noir-Chardonnay NV; Yelland & Papps Single Vineyard Roussanne; Cirillo Estate 1850 Ancestor Vine Grenache Rosato; Izway Mates Aglianico; and David Franz Sticky Botrytis Semillon.
One of the most impressive things about The Louise is its connections. Want to taste 100-year-old tawny from Seppeltsfield – the only winery in the world with premium fortified wines set aside every year since 1878?
How about a private underground cellar tasting at Tscharke or Yalumba – Australia’s oldest family-owned winery?
You can take the St Hugo & Riedel Glass Masterclass, eat breakfast with kangaroos or make your own perfume at Vasse Virgin. Or you can be chauffeured around with Barossa Bespoke Tours.
All you have to do is ask Louise…
For more information visit www.thelouise.com.au