I had the pleasure of enjoying a tasting of Wirra Wirra wines at Willow Park about a month ago; my first sit-down, communal type of tasting, and it was thoroughly enjoyable! Willow Park provided a buffet of hors d’oeuvres: steak on crostini, assortment of cheese and crackers, and savory canapés. I was glad I came hungry, everything was delicious.
Besides the tasty eats, and the welcoming glass of Mrs. Wigley Grenache Rose, the engaging table talk with fellow tasters was open and light, there were a lot more laughs than expected!
The wines were all enjoyed, from the Scrubby Rise Sauv Blanc to the crowd pleasing Church Block Cab blend. The Dead Ringer Cabernet and RSW Shiraz were great opportunity to try something out of my price range of everyday wine (around $50 a bottle). Of all wines tasted, my favorite was the Scrubby Rise Shiraz, featured this month in WineCollective. On my second tasting of Scrubby Rise, it was paired with a juicy @alleyburger; we highly recommend the combination!
Wine and food aside, by far the best part of the evening was the stories; our host, straight from Wirra Wirra, did not have a shortage of quirky tales that reinforce the whimsical and humorous nature of the wines and those who produce them. The first pour of the evening, a Grenache Rose named after an exceptionally fortunate feline, Mrs. Wrigley, who had taken permanent residence in the Wirra cellars and dined on left over cheese from the winery’s tasting room.
Robert Strangeway Wigley, the original founder of Wirra Wirra in 1894, and well know eccentric, is the topic of many Wirra tales. He was sent to Mclaren Vale as his family’s means to containing him and his pranks from the eyes of Adelaide’s society. A joy ride through the town on a stolen pie cart was not his family’s idea of proper behaviour.
The original cellar and homestead of Wirra Wirra.
Greg Trott and cousin Roger revived Robert Wigley’s vision in 1969, carrying on with the same unique and fun-loving personality of the vineyard. The catapult designed and founded in Greg Trott’s imagination, with the sole purpose of flinging wine from Wirra Wirra onto neighbouring vineyards in hopes that they would then devise a catapult of their own and return the favour; is now mostly being used with watermelons and not wine. We were further informed of Mr. Trott’s adventures, disappearing without notice to attend a cricket match; his minders had put a full page “missing person” ad hoping someone would contact them with his whereabouts; he was found.
Woodhenge Shiraz to the 12th Man Chardonnay, numerous bottles of Wirra wine are named after the mis-adventures and iconic structures found at Wirra in Mclaren Vale. They are worthy of a read, and a few laughs.