Barossa Valley here I am. I’ve never had the opportunity to visit the Barossa Valley until now. As luck would have it we arrive during the worst storm South Australia (SA) has seen in 50 years! With torrential rain and wind gusts of up to 140km’s, I was sure that this would put a dampener on our trip. But from the moment we landed in Adelaide till the moment we flew out a few days later, I can report nothing but smiles and an experience to last a life time.
It’s not often you get the chance to do something that completely blows your mind. A chance to learn in detail the art of growing grapes, making wine, tasting wine, pairing wine with exquisite cuisine and submersing yourself into such rich history. The team at St Hugo’s had organised an incredible schedule, from the moment we landed everything had been thought out and planned intricately.
On arrival into Barossa Valley, we stopped of at 1918 Bistro and Grill, to meet our host Ruth over lunch. As we tasted our first sip of St Hugo (cabernet Sauvignon) whilst dining in the main room with bones true to it’s heritage and an open log fire, we started our journey learning about the story of Louis “Hugo” Gramp and the Gramp family.
Soon we were on route to St Hugo’s and were greeted by black iron gates with the gold crest flickering in the rain. The driveway lined with vines and glimpse’s of the rich brick building’s made prominent through the blowing trees. Pulling up you could see why it took three years of construction and planning to achieve the stunning vision for the home of St Hugo. Building works began in mid-2015 with local builder AHRENS group after receiving a pivotal $1million Regional Development Grant by the South Australian Government. The renovation began with the demolition of the non-historic elements, retaining only the ironstone walls of the original winery which are an incredibly unique feature. These were repaired and new walls built by hand over a 6 month period. The site was then developed to include an underground level for private tastings, and an upper floor for the tasting lounge. When you are within these walls basking in it’s beauty you then become aware of the highest level of craftsmanship used to create St Hugo.
The officially opening of St Hugo was on the 23rd September 2016. It was truly an honour to be invited as special guests to St Hugo’s so soon after it opened it’s doors, showcasing the magnificiant new home of St Hugo in Australia.
Only at the home can the entire range of St Hugo wines be tasted, from the original signature range up to Vetus Purum, as well as a selection of back vintages and exclusive wines. With that said who better to taste them with then the Chief winemaker himself, Dan Swincer. Learning his process, background and his love for wine was mind blowing. I’m one who enjoys a glass of red most nights, but never really having full respect for the individual elements, flavours and notes that make up each wine.
Wine tasting with the Chief winemaker himself; Dan Swincer.
St Hugo is set in the heart of the Barossa Valley, St Hugo invites visitors to indulge in the elegant world of one of Australia’s most distinguished Cabernet Sauvignon producers.
An exceptional sensory journey with St Hugo wines can be enjoyed in the luxurious wine lounge, in private underground tasting rooms, or as part of the fine dining experience in the intimate St Hugo restaurant…. And lets speak about the restaurant. It’s a fantastic blend of old and modern. The intimate 44-seat restaurant, is surrounded by original 1854 ironstone walls and picture windows that frame the vineyards beyond. The food…OH MY, where to start. We sat down and enjoyed the 8 Course Tasting Menu, which absolutely blew my mind and my palette. Being a vegetarian, I was overjoyed that my dishes were replicated to look like the others and had the same flavours so that my meal could be enjoyed to it’s full extent with the paired wine. Normally food is paired with wine, however Chef Mark McNamara twists it around by creating dishes to suit the wine.
“The food and wine in the Barossa is some of the finest in the world, and I am thrilled to create an exciting and delicious dining experience which showcases the wines in the beautiful home of St Hugo,” says McNamara.
Below is a look into my 8 Course Tasting Menu.
Oyster, squid and white anchovies with carrots, green mango and herbs.
Paired with a 2016 · Orlando St Helga Riesling
Quail sausage, capers, citrus and mustard
Vegetarian Option – char grilled zucchini with capers, mustard and agrumato oil
Paired with a 2012 · Orlando St Harriett Semillon
Sweet potato and almond ‘brulee’ with toasted brioche
Paired with a 2013 · St Hugo Signature Grenache Shiraz Mataro
Duck two ways, wilted greens, black sesame and molasses
Vegetarian Option – King oyster mushrooms, wilted greens, molasses and black sesame
Paired with a 2007 · St Hugo Signature Cabernet Sauvignon
Mulloway with red wine, shallots, fresh peas, wakame and thyme
Paired with a 2010 · St Hugo Vetus Purum Cabernet Sauvignon
Grilled saddle of kangaroo, radish cake, beetroot jus and braised tendon
Vegetarian Option – Confit beets and carrots with grilled radish cake and miso
Paired with a 2012 · St Hugo Private Collection Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon
Croquette of pork, hazelnut and silken tofu with black pudding and celeriac
Vegetarian option – croquette of root vegetables and hazelnuts with chickpea purée
Paired with a 2012 · St Hugo Private Collection Seppeltsfield Region Shiraz
Citrus, avocado, macadamia and burnt butter tart
Paired with a 1970 · Tawny
All the St Hugo wines that were included within the 8 Course Tasting Menu. Excluding the 1970 Tawny.
A moment with the culinary genus, Chef Mark McNamara
Naming my own vine! Yes, you read that correctly. If our experience at St Hugo hadn’t already hit every incredible high, they left this little part till last. With our names engraved in silver plaques, we set out to find the vine best suited to us. My inner child was screaming with excitement as I skipped through the vines adjacent to the main house at St Hugo and there she was. Just poking up, so green, so pretty. It was love at first sight. My own vine!
What a way to end such an amazing trip, filled with fabulous food, magnificent wine, fantastic company and a memorable experience. THANK YOU ST HUGO.
St Hugo offers so much. If you after just a glass of wine by the fire, Eating lunch at the “The Chef’s Table”immersing yourself into the flavours while you watch Mark McNamara in his element. All this is available and more. I got your attention with the more part, didn’t I?
Here are some incredible packages available at St Hugo, from wine tours to bespoke fine wine experiences.
Twice daily 11 am and 3 pm
TOUR & TASTING: Immerse yourself in the St Hugo story with a Tour & Tasting experience which includes a tour of the vineyards and unique cork tree plantings. This is followed by a tutored tasting in the private underground tasting room with the St Hugo sommelier.
TOUR, TASTING & LUNCH: Enjoy the Tour & Tasting, followed by a four-course meal in the restaurant, matched with St Hugo wines.
Tour & tasting 1.5 hours $50 per person
Tour, Tasting & Lunch 3 hours $150 per person
LEGACY EXPERIENCE – 1 DAY
Journey in a private helicopter flight to St Hugo and take in the breathtaking landscape of the Barossa and Adelaide Hills.
Enjoy an immersive wine journey and taste the finest old vintages and special blends of St Hugo in the atmospheric underground bottle cellar with a personal host.
Discover the St Hugo history, wines and home of St Hugo with a private tour and an 8 course lunch. The experience will be wrapped up with a bespoke St Hugo wine gift to take home via luxury car transfer.
Prices start from AUD $10,000 For up to 2 people
PRESTIGE EXPERIENCE – 2 DAYS
Enjoy 2 nights’ 5 star luxury accommodation in the Adelaide and Barossa Valley. Travel in style by luxury car to St Hugo. Day one includes a private tour of the home, with wine tastings of the finest old vintages of St Hugo in the atmospheric underground bottle cellar. Enjoy unique fine dining experiences, guided by your personal host.
Day two entails a personal wine blending experience with our St Hugo Winemaker. A selection of St Hugo’s finest vintages and exclusive wines will be delivered to your home after the visit to share the experience with loved ones.
Prices start from AUD $30,000 For up to 2 people
SAINTHOOD EXPERIENCE – 3 DAYS
This once in a lifetime experience with St Hugo is a true celebration of success. A St Hugo concierge will tailor a day to enjoy the spoils of Adelaide. Then take a charter flight to the Coonawarra region to walk in the St Hugo vineyard and see the famous Terra Rossa soil. Guests can select and name their own row of vines to mark the start of their vineyard legacy.
Return to the home of St Hugo for a private tour and extensive wine tastings and fine dining experiences. Guests will craft their own red wine blend with the St Hugo winemaker, to be matured in the St Hugo vault. After three years, their bespoke blend will be bottled and hand delivered by our ambassador.
Prices start from AUD $150,000 For up to 2 people
Where did we stay? The Louise.
Located in the Barossa Valley, The Louise offers absolute luxury and inspired design within private spaces, generous ensuites and breathtaking vineyard views. We stayed in one of the Seppeltfeild Suite ( Lucky number 30). You can see why these are the top of the range suites. A spacious configuration of lounge, bedroom, bathroom, walk in wardrobe and on the terrace sun lounges situated with stunning views of the vineyard. A gas fire place makes you feel warm and cosy while the spa bath lets you relax in tranquility at night.
Jim and Helen Carreker, owners since January 2005 of the property known for many years as Peppers Hermitage or The Hermitage at Marananga, have spent more than ten years researching and ultimately selecting the Barossa Valley and the stunningly beautiful Marananga hilltop site for their Australian food and wine venture. Their belief that luxurious accommodation complements a truly memorable food and wine experience is based on numerous personal trips in the 1980’s and 1990’s to France, Spain, Portugal and to their then local Napa and Sonoma Valley areas of California.
We were treated to dinner on our first night at The Louise’s world class, Appellation restaurant. Their food unashamedly reflects the local growing seasons. Executive Chef Ryan Edwards and his team are passionate about freshness, seasonality and regionalism. We enjoyed St Hugo Wine paired with 4 courses, with Chef winemaker at St Hugo, Dan Swincer and our incredible host Ruth Harris. The owner Jim Carreker, came and introduced himself proving a humble and personable experience at The Louise. A truly delicious dinner and a beautiful and relaxing stay. Thank you The Louise. We will be back.
Shop my outfits here