Every year Liebichwein put the call out for the best home barrel blend. All amateur wine blenders around Australia are invited to submit their personal 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.
During judging, an experienced panel taste all wine samples in a blind tasting. Tasting notes are written and quality scores given for overall flavour and balance. Judges look for wines that are in balance and provide a good drink no matter how old the wine is or what stage of development it is. All entrants receive feedback from the panel and blending advice from Ron which we know is greatly appreciated.
The competition was held in August-September. Entrants submitted a 200mL wine sample. A wide range of barrel-aged fortified wines was on show of all varieties and ages. There were five gold medals awarded to three different people who all received a prize of rare fortified samples over 20 years old. The winners were announced at an event for entrants at Liebichwein in mid September.
Filling fortified wine straight from the barrel at Liebichwein, Barossa Valley
Fortified wines have a long history in the Barossa Valley which is one of the most historic wine producing regions in Australia. Here at Liebichwein we certainly have a soft spot for fortified styles and love the fact that so many customers have home barrels for that extra touch of luxury at home. We pride ourselves on our extensive range of bulk fortified wines suitable for drinking now or further ageing in your own barrel. There are very few Barossa Valley wineries that offer the range we do for fortified wine lovers to taste, buy or refill containers of fortified wines.
There are six fortified wine styles sold by the litre for customers to taste and choose from. Many fortified wine lovers return with their own container and we sell reusable plastic containers (2, 5, 10, 20 litre). The wine you choose will ultimately 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.
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 fortified wines are produced from estate grown grapes left to fully ripen naturally in the vineyard. Ron loves the flavours of different grapes growing on the Liebich property so he makes his blends using four different varieties to produce flavour profiles ranging from aromatic, floral and sweet to spicy and nutty. Grenache, Semillon, Muscat, and Red Frontignac are all perfectly suited to fortified wine styles.
Bulk Fortified Wines
Ruby Grenache – youthful unwooded Tawny is a light fruity style that is recommended to freshen up old syrupy or over-oaked barrel blends. It’s also pretty tasty on its own, a bit like concentrated berry cordial for adults.
Ron’s Blend – smooth youthful Tawny style 2-3 years old, ideal for topping up barrels or freshening over-oaked or excessively aged barrel ports.
Barrel Blend – rich semi-aged tawny with a balance of fruit and hints of woody notes (2/3 Ron’s + 1/3 Ben’s Blend). Only available at cellar door.
Ben’s Blend – mature style aged 5 years with woody notes and spiced dried fruit. Ideal for adding to a newly seasoned barrel or adding complexity to a youthful base blend where more developed characters are preferred.
Semillon – luscious white fortified with raisin and toffee flavours. Light youthful style for drinking now or adding to a barrel blend for sweetness and depth.
Muscat – luscious white fortified with floral and citrus flavours. Light youthful style for drinking now or adding to a barrel blend for sweetness and depth (Muscat Gordo grapes)
Frontignac– luscious fruity wine with aromatic, tropical and musk flavours to add sweetness and depth to a barrel (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. You can sit down and enjoy a fortified tasting experience to compare flavours, impact of barrel ageing and even taste rare museum fortifieds straight from the barrel. These unctuous, syrupy wines are certainly memorable and 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.