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!
These quick and easy fruity truffles are delightful to share with loved ones over a cup of tea or coffee. Serve with aged Grand Tawny Port or Classic Muscat for the complete indulgent experience. Perfect to make as gifts for a special occasion like Easter, birthdays, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
We have a preference for dark chocolate, but feel free to substitute with milk chocolate or use dairy-free chocolate and cake to make them suitable for vegan diets.
Prep 20 mins Standing Time 1 hour Makes 24 Difficulty Easy
1 cup dried fruit, chopped
2 tbsp. orange zest, finely grated
1/4 cup fortified wine
125g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
250g (2 cups) cake crumbs
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
Put dried fruit in a bowl with some boiled water for 10-15 minutes then strain.
Mix fruit, orange zest and fortified wine of your choice.
Melt chocolate pieces using a double boiler or microwave in a glass bowl.
Add melted chocolate and cake crumbs to the fruit mixture and mix well.
Place coconut into a shallow bowl ready for coating truffles.
Roll mixture into small even balls with your hands, then roll each ball in coconut.
This quick and versatile sauce is more like a savoury compote. Excellent condiment for using figs, especially when you have had enough of sweet fig-based desserts. Serve as a sauce with roast lamb, baked fish, on pizza bases or like a relish. It’s just as good made with a full bodied red wine or Port style wine.
Prep 10 mins Cook 25 mins
2 tbsp olive oil
500g brown onions, sliced thinly
1 cup fresh figs or 1 cup dried figs
1/4 cup wine (Liebichwein red wine or Tawny Port)
1 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 tbsp Liebichwein Muscat Vinegar (balsamic vinegar can be substituted)
1 tbsp chopped rosemary or thyme (fresh or dried)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Prepare sliced onions and cut figs into quarters if using fresh figs.
Heat olive oil in large frying pan. Add onions and sprinkle some salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden, about 20 minutes.
Stir in figs, wine, stock, vinegar and herbs. Increase heat to high and simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper taste.
Store in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. Alternatively, freeze in small portions until ready to use.
The Liebichwein barrel shed has collected many oak casks of various sizes which house liquid gold. Ron and Janet Liebich are proud to continue the great tradition of ageing and blending fortified wines. Only a few decades ago, Muscat and Tawny used to dominate the Barossa wine scene.
Hosting a Home Barrel Competition to celebrate these classic styles and recognises our passionate customer base continues to be a fantastic and engaging experience. The 2019 competition entries included super-syrupy rare tawny, rare sweet Tokay-like flavours and quite young Tawny blends. All the wines (24 in total) gained approval and judges were really impressed with overall quality.
There were so many high quality wines, that 5 Gold Medals were awarded to 4 different homebarrel owners who each won a prize of a Rare Museum Fortified and a bottle of The Darkie Shiraz. Congratulations to the 2019 Home Barrel Competition winner Filippo Pizzino from South Australia who entered two outstanding fortifieds that claimed first and second prize.
A local highly experienced judging panel was put together and entrants came from all over Australia. All entrants were happy and proud to receive tasting notes and feedback from Ron about their personalised blends and improving them for the next judging competition. Stay tuned to hear about dates for the 2020 competition.