This week we have the pleasure of pouring a selection of reds from Tom Shobbrook in the Barossa Valley.  The land of big, juicy, jammy, Shiraz right?  Not necessarily! Like Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa, Shiraz (same as Syrah, just the Australian spelling) is synonymous with this Australian wine region, and is typically made in a similarly bombastic, overripe style. It makes for a continual uphill battle, one that winemakers like Tom must grapple with on a daily basis because he makes wines of such a different caliber, with an eye towards balance and drinkability, not to mention more ecologically sounds land stewardship. Some of that has to do with public perception—which can change with education—but it is also an issue of the agenda of big-business wine and consequently now a lack of viticultural diversity in the Barossa, with many old vine varieties being ripped out in favor of planting new Shiraz, “The South Australian Wine Associations push Shiraz pretty hard, because they’ve spent a lot of money selling Barossa Shiraz to the international market” says Tom.  He himself grows Shiraz and Mourvedre and Merlot without chemicals, and works with some like-minded farmers in his area to produce some fast-disappearing whites and rosés. Many of his wines sit in large format barrels, with a large percentage of them being made out of Australian timbers rather than the more commonly seen French or Austrian oak barrels. It’s a unique and pointed choice to use these sort of materials, with many of them being salvaged.  Like his farming, the winemaking is without additives and follows the improvisational rhythms of the natural world.  We will feature a range of his red wines (plus something white by the glass for you non-red drinkers) that will definitely push your conception of Barossa wine a bit.