Sorby Adams Wines

With its heart and home in Barossa’s Eden Valley, Sorby Adams Wines is a boutique producer of quality, handcrafted, individual vineyard wines. Owner and Winemaker Simon Adams is passionate about creating varietal wines to reflect the strengths of Eden Valley which he believes produces some of the best Riesling and Shiraz in the world. This passion extends to exploring fruit from the world’s most respected wine regions to truly showcase what a variety can do.

An experienced Winemaker, Simon’s career has spanned nearly 30 years in Australia’s leading wine companies including Chief Winemaker at Yalumba Wine Company and Dorrien Estate (Cellarmaster Wines) as well as many vintages overseas including Alsace (France), St Emillion (France), Napa Valley (USA) and New Zealand.

His viticultural and winemaking philosophy is based on the belief that great wines are made in the vineyard. He places enormous emphasis on careful tending of vines with minimal intervention ensuring that he has access to the highest quality fruit.

Wines are personally crafted to reflect the European style which allows the wine’s character to shine through, optimising fruit and enhancing longevity.

Testament to his winemaking skills, Simon has amassed more that 65 trophies and 300 gold medals during his career, including twice winning Best Vintage Red at the International Wine and Spirit Challenge in London, the Stoddard Trophy at Brisbane and the “Triple Crown” at the National Wine Show in Canberra including Best Wine of Show.

Sorby Adams Wines is a reflection of Simon’s hands on approach to winemaking. It is his backyard 1932 vineyard that produces the flagship wines. He personally tends each vine to handcraft his Eden Valley range. Bringing European style to Australian winemaking, Simon has developed a diverse range of wines full of regional flavours and nuances styled to optimise longevity.

Sorby Adams Wines is based on the philosophy that great wines are made in the vineyard. Winemaker Simon Adams sources fruit from his beloved Eden Valley, high in the Barossa Hills, for his flagship wines. The cool climate of Barossa’s Eden Valley, its high altitude, ancient soils, cold wet winters and a temperate summer and autumn, combine to produce low yielding but intensely flavoured wines with outstanding natural acidity. World renowned for Riesling, it also produces superior quality Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Nestled in the Barossa Hills in Eastern Eden Valley, Sorby Adams’ Home Vineyard is one of the oldest in the region, originally planted in 1932 by the Lehmann family, a name synonymous with quality Barossa wine. Located in Simon Adams’ own backyard, the Home Vineyard is a tribute to the wine region’s heritage. Its gnarly twisted vines are nurtured by Simon to showcase Eden Valley Shiraz, with a small amount of acreage dedicated to Viognier and Traminer.

The Sorby Adams Wineroom & Pantry is the latest addition to a long and proud history of food and wine in the Barossa. Located in the picturesque town of Angaston, the Wineroom & Pantry offers both visitors to the Barossa and locals alike, a wine and food experience unmatched in the region.Visitors to the Wineroom can enjoy a tasting of the handcrafted Sorby Adams Wine range with winemaker Simon Adams and staff. After a tasting, browse the seasonal menu featuring the best of South Australian produce and settle in for a relaxing lunch before an afternoon of sampling the tastes, sights and sounds of the Barossa.

The Sorby Adams Wineroom & Pantry has an extensive provedore range featuring gourmet pantry goods from Peter Watson & Saskia Beer. Antipasto plates, cheese-boards, All Press coffee and a range of teas are available throughout the day for those in need of a lift.

Sorby Adams 2008 The Thing Eden Valley Shiraz

I chose this wine in the Winter Launch collection to demonstrate a cooler climate Eden Valley Shiraz within the Barossa Valley Region. Simon  carefully tends and hand harvests the rare fruit from the old Shiraz vines in his Home Vineyard in Eden Valley. Each vintage he carefully selects the very best barrels of Shiraz to become ‘The Thing’ (of rare beauty), so named for the amazing quality and intensity of the fruit and the small quantities produced from the very special old vines.

The Sorby Adams Home Vineyard sits high in the eastern hills of the Barossa. First planted in 1932, it is home to some of the oldest vines in the Eden Valley region. Its gnarled, twisted vines produce elegant and refined wines in the classic cool climate style. Eden Valley soils generally have a lower pH (ie are more acidic) than the Barossa floor. This gives wines in this region a "minerality" and natural acidity that aids in longevity.

The Thing is Sorby Adams’ top of the line Shiraz. Sourced from our Home Vineyard high in the Eden Valley at 475 metres above sea level. Planted by Pastor Franz Julius Lehmann in 1932, the low-yielding, gnarled vines are some of the oldest in the region. All old vine shiraz produce very small berries. As they get older they lose their "vigour" and produce less fruit and smaller berries but those berries have a lot more complexity than from young vines. Simon likens old vines to old people - "you get much better conversation from an 80 year old rather than a 10-year old". Often the wine that is selected to go into a premium wine is selected by testing the barrels and then blending the best of the barrels. Whilst Simon also does this for The Thing he also carefully selects which fruit goes into the wine. He only chooses fruit from the original 1932 vines of which there are only 11 rows. He then carefully chooses which fruit he will use from those 11 rows and when they will be picked. This can mean up to 5 different picks over 2 weeks.

The wine is aged in fine grain French oak. Simon air drys the oak for longer than normal (5 years rather than the normal 2 years) which gives much lower tannin. In the barrel making process the staves are immersion bent in water which again gives lower tannins. This is necessary when matching the oak to Eden Valley fruit styles.

Only their best barrels make their way into this classic, cool-climate Shiraz and the new 2008 release shows again, why the old-vine fruit of the Eden Valley is so highly sought after.

The tasting notes say:
"Deep brick-red in the glass with opulent, rich aromas of macerated plums, crème de cassis, blackberry and wild cherry along with a splash of cranberry which opens up the aromatic profile beautifully. Hints of deep-set spice – clove, cinnamon, fennel, dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla and creamy French oak.

Superb fruit density and concentration on the palate with a beam of bright acidity making the wine appear quite light on its feet for such opulent fruit. Fruit flavours of blackberry, cassis, kirsch and plum all flow seamlessly across the palate supported by hints of baking spice, licorice, chocolate, violets and well-judged French oak.

The finish is perfectly poised and shows a graceful line and fine balance between the rich berry fruit, supporting spice characters, bright acidity and ripe melt-in-the-mouth fine grained tannins. Long and lingering on the finish which trails off showing characters of dark and black berry fruits, baking spice and subtle French oak. Try this with Roast beef"

The fruit that goes into this wine has a proud history. In the early 1990s it went into the Chris Ringland 3 Rivers which Robert Parker rated 100 and from 1996-1999 it was the backbone of the Yalumba Octavius.

Only six barrels of The Thing are made each year, using the best grapes from Dads Block. The Thing reflects the regional Eden Valley Shiraz style and has two major distinctive features: Strong fruit aroma coming from the cooler climate and the natural acidity giving longevity. Whilst the 2008 wasn't tested by James Halliday he has rated previous vintages between 93 and 96.



Michael Williams
Michael Williams


Michael has lived in the Barossa Valley for 10-years. He was a co-founder of the Barossa based wine appreciation group. Having had such long associations with the Barossa Valley, Michael is inevitably called upon by his friends and business colleagues to help them buy good wines or select the wine whenever eating out. As founder of Barossa Reserve, Michael brings a virtual Wine Region tour and Cellar Door experience to lovers of outstanding premium Barossa wines to those who cant get there themselves.