At first glance, Turkey Flat vineyards appears as any other winery. Vineyards flanking the driveway (with the great possibility of deadly brown snakes), large eucalyptus trees around the property and a tasting room about 50ft from the general parking lot. Yet upon stepping into the tasting room and reading down the tasting sheet, I began to realize this isn’t your normal Australian Cellar Door.
For starters, they have Grenache, in its purest form. No additional components, just straight and pure Grenache. If that wasn’t enough to get me all giddy, the fact the Grenache vineyards are nearly a century old sealed the deal. Say what? I don’t know of many new-world (or is that venturing into old-world ages?) grapevines that are still going near the century mark. I know they’re out there, but they are hard to find.
For a Grenache fanatic, this was music to my ears. In fact, I spent nearly 20 minutes explaining to the tasting room staff just how much I love Grenache. It turns out I was preaching to the choir as the staff was apparently as jubilant as I was about the grape. I was thinking, this can’t get better. Then, I discovered their rosé was primarily composed of Grenache. I need a moment.
Turkey Flat was one of the forerunners to bring back the rosé before making rosé was cool. And with Grenache to boot. Did I mention it was made with Grenache? Ok, settle down Haydn.
It turns out at Turkey Flat, history is nearly inside of every glass. The Shiraz (pronounced Sheer-aaz) grapes on the property are some of the oldest grapes in Australia. In doing a little research following this factoid, I found some of their plantings predate the state of California joining the union. Take that Napa.
But you can’t just have a still Shiraz at Turkey Flat vineyards. Oh no. You’ve also got to try a Sparkling Shiraz. A what? Yep, you heard me correctly.
I still feel every time I mention the phrase Sparkling Shiraz, a Frenchmen drops his wine glass and gasps. This is borderline heresy to any Frenchmen producing Champagne. I’ve seen a few random varietals used to make sparkling outside of the two predominant grapes: Chardonnay and Pinot, but nothing of this style or caliber. To be honest, I felt like this was an Aussie joke they play on Americans. “Here, try a dark red, chilled, and filled with bubbles. You’ll love it. Oh, and it’s made from Shiraz.” Is this the wine version of vegemite?
Despite not knowing what to make of it, I tried it. And by golly, it was good. The tasting staff recommended it be served with a big meal, such as our American Thanksgiving (still one of the harder meals to pair for I might add).
As if in the past, me bringing rosé to the Thanksgiving was any indication, I can’t wait to bring a bottle of Sparkling Shiraz (there goes another gasp by a Frenchmen).
Mataro, Cabernet Sauvignon (which had hints of eucalyptus) and Marsanne are a few other wines available to taste at Turkey Flat. If I wasn’t in a rush to go look for Kangaroos on a nearby mountainside (for the record, that turned out to be a snipe hunt), I would have lingered on the patio or attempted a solo game of Jenga. There are a few tables outside of the tasting room and two tables inside, if you feel like sitting vs standing while trying the Grenache.
The price points are great, given the age of wines (older wines can’t pump out the volume hip, teenager-aged wines can) and tasting is complimentary. I wanted to take home a case of rosé but with weight limits on airplanes and all, I had to resort to photos only to bring back with me.