Liebichwein are putting the call out for the best home barrel blend. While this is an annual event, it seems more fitting than ever to continue the tradition in a year where many people are staying close to home due to COVID-19. All amateur wine blenders around Australia can submit their fortified wines for the chance to be crowned ‘best fortified blend’ in a competition organised by Barossa winery Liebichwein. The winner receives an engraved wooden dipstick trophy they can use to measure how much is in their barrel.
Fortified wines have a long history in the Barossa Valley and winemaker, Ron Liebich, certainly knows a thing or two about them. Ron has completed over 50 vintages growing and producing a range of wines with a special focus on fortifieds which have a widespread fan base across Australia.
Liebichwein cellar door offers varied fortified styles and blends made from red and white varietals including Muscat, Semillon, Frontignac and Grenache. Many customers come in to get regular refills of bulk fortifieds for aging and blending in their home barrel.
Having a home barrel to age your own fortified blend is one of life’s little luxuries. By running this competition, Liebichwein aim to reward the patience in taking on this challenge. Budding winemakers blenders are encouraged to enter one or more samples of their own blend for professional evaluation by Ron and an experienced judging panel.
Home Barrel Competition entries are open Australia-wide as long as a 200mL wine sample can be sent without spilling a precious drop. All entries must be received by 24th August 2020 for judging (entry fee $10 per wine). Entries can be dropped off at Liebichwein during cellar door hours or posted to the winery in a well-sealed bottle/jar with secure packaging. Prizes of rare fortified samples will be awarded for the Top 3 wines and announced by the end of September. All entrants receive feedback on their wines from the judging panel.
Liebich Wines Barossa Valley, South Australia Photo: John Krüger
It’s the depths of winter. This time of year is almost busier for us than vintage as the majority of wines sold at cellar door are winter warming fortifieds. We pride ourselves on our extensive range of bulk fortified wines suitable for drinking now or further ageing in your own barrel. There are six wine styles sold by the litre for people to perfect their home barrel blends. Many customers return with their own container and we sell reusable plastic containers (2, 5, 10, 20 Litre).
Ron Liebich continually makes large batches of bulk blends to keep up with demand by masterfully blending fresher vintage fortified wines with old museum stocks stored in the depths of the barrel shed. All fortifieds are produced from estate grown grapes left to fully ripen naturally in the vineyard.Fortified wines are made from four different grape varieties producing different flavour profiles ranging from aromatic, floral and sweet to spicy and nutty.
Liebichwein bulk fortifieds all suit barrel ageing. The wine you choose will depend on your taste preference and whether it is used to season a new keg, as a base wine or for topping up a barrel.
Ruby Grenache Unwooded Grenache, perfect rejuvenator for over-oaked and aged barrels
Ron’s Blend Traditional Tawny style aged 2 years, perfect for topping up most barrels
Ron’s / Keg Blend Rich semi-aged tawny, some woody notes (2/3 Ron?s + 1/3 Keg Blend). Only available at cellar door.
Keg Blend Rich tawny aged 5 years, developing woody notes, good for a starting barrel
Semillon Sweet Sherry (Apera) style aged 2 years with fresh toffee and nutty flavours
Muscat Youthful sweet style with floral, apricot and citrus flavours (Muscat Gordo grapes)
Frontignac Youthful sweet style with floral tropical and musk flavours (Red Frontignac grapes)
We invite you to visit cellar door to taste these wines in addition to a wide range of premium bottled fortified wines ranging in age from one to thirty years old. A sweet treat indeed!
Ron Liebich is celebrating 52 years involved with Barossa vintages either as a vigneron, winemaker, cellar hand, champion grape treader and simply being a Barossa wine legend!
It was 1968 when he graduated from Roseworthy Agricultural College with his Oenology degree. Soon after he had the opportunity to take over from his Uncle “Darkie” Liebich in the winemaking duties and lab analyses at Rovalley Wines which was operated by the wider Liebich family. Since then he’s never looked back. Anyone who’s ever met Ron will know how passionate he is about wine and the local region.
Traditional German Streuselkuchen is a family favourite! This cake has a sweet yeast dough base and is topped with fresh or preserved fruit and a crunchy sweet crumble. It brings back so many good memories of Barossa afternoon teas and family gatherings. In summer we use mulberries, plums or apricots while in autumn we use pears, apples or grapes.
Prep 2 hours Bake 20 mins Makes one large cake 45 x 30cm
2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup milk warmed
1 teaspoon plain flour
700g (1 lb) plain flour
70g (2 oz) butter
85g (3 oz) sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup sultanas or currants
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Milk for glazing
3 cups of thinly sliced fresh fruit or whole berries (optional)
2 cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
Sprinkle ground cinnamon
Place yeast in a small bowl, add sugar and warm milk, plain flour, mix cover and stand in a warm place until the mixture turns frothy (takes around 15 minutes).
Start making cake dough by sifting flour into a bowl, add pinch of salt. Rub butter and sugar into flour (flavourings may be added here).
Add beaten egg to yeast mixture. Mix in the flour a cup at a time. Once the dough is too thick to mix, use hands to mix it and knead gently for a minute to a soft dough.
Spread dough approx. 2cm thick onto a large oven tray. Brush cake top with milk to help streusel stick.
Place seasonal sliced fruit or whole berries on top.
To make streusel, rub sugar and softened butter into flour and cinnamon. Press with your fingers to make crumb consistency.
Sprinkle streusel over the whole cake. Cover and keep in a warm place. Let the cake rise for an hour or until double in thickness.
Bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes or until edges of cake are golden brown.
While the first Liebichwein sparkling wine project began as simply producing a wine for the family, it is now available as a limited release. We are over the moon with this Lovely Sparkling wine!
You may be asking, why have we made a sparkling and why has it taken us so long?
It’s no secret that Janet’s favourite wine style is fizz and our whole family enjoy sharing bubbles with friends and family.Ron has been experimenting with growing a variety of Pinot Noir clones and making the odd dry red which he’s been pretty happy with, but he was up for a new challenge. A trip to the Champagne region in 2014 was the inspiration needed for Ron to explore the realm of Traditional Method sparkling.
We knew we needed help with this project so we enlisted the support of Sean and Sue Delaney of Sinclair’s Gully and Simon Greenleaf who make fine wines in the Adelaide Hills. They all encouraged us to have a go and were willing to share their tips and provide access to their equipment. Excitedly, we embarked on the collaboration.
The Lovely Sparkling story started early in vintage 2014 when we handpicked our own Pinot Noir destined to be the sparkling base wine. This was then blended with fresher Pinot base wine from vintage 2016 to build complexity. In late 2017, we arranged a few rounds of dedicated tasting trials to get the balance of body and sweetness just right. The wine is hand-disgorged, dosaged, capped and labelled to order. We decided to use our own Ruby Fortified Grenache for dosage to add sweetness and a pink hue.
The next steps were to think of a suitable name and package. We chose the name ‘Lovely’ for a number of reasons. Our family name Liebich is very close to the German word ‘lieblich’ which means ‘lovely’, the Barossa Valley maintains strong German heritage, and of course the wine is pretty lovely to look at, sip and savour.
Given that the quantity is very limited, purchases are restricted to cellar door customers and mailing list members.
Delicate blush from contact with grape skins. Tantalising strawberry, blossom and toasted brioche aromas lead to a lively lingering palate. Simply lovely!
$30 per bottle
Contact the winery directly to order Lovely Sparkling as it is disgorged and labelled by hand in small quantities.