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Increasingly, he talks about an aboriginal word that effectively translates into the same idea.

The pangkarra of Polish Hill, a poor-soil parcel of shale and blue slate nestled below a grove of gum trees, yields a very different riesling than his nearby Springvale Vineyard, grown on red loam and limestone.

Quite clearly, what it does well now—grow a lot of very ripe and uninteresting shiraz and cabernet, much of it going to Australia’s wine conglomerates—is neither sustainable nor particularly relevant as tastes evolve.

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And the Barossa Valley is as established as they come Down Under: Founded mostly by German settlers, its fertile plains have hosted grapes since 1843.

Astonishingly, many vines from that century or the early part of the 20th century remain—untouched by phylloxera.

As often happened in that flying-winemaker era, it was a case of gilding the lily until the lily fell apart.

As winemaker Dan Standish, whose grandfather landed in the Barossa in 1848, suggests: “Putting American oak on Barossa shiraz is like putting sugar on top of your ice cream.” To provide a road map to the Barossa’s new wave, I’ve got Fraser Mc Kinley, who has volunteered to be my tour guide.

The gravity of that choice becomes clear to me when I drive two hours north of the Barossa to Clare Valley, to see Jeffrey Grosset, who makes Australia’s best riesling, Polish Hill.

As we sit in his office, Grosset recalls that when he started in 1981, the notion of place simply wasn’t talked about.In the past two years, Shobbrook has become one of the most visible symbols of the alt-Barossa, making things like cinsault and muscat in concrete rainwater tanks and eggs formed from pure white clay, and a sherry-style nebbiolo.For all the curios, though, Shobbrook’s most important wine might be Poolside.New Australia can’t just be about quirkiness and individuality. These shifts in philosophy aren’t unique to Adelaide’s Basket Range or the Barossa, or even South Australia in general.They’re occurring everywhere, including places I didn’t get the chance to visit. Vino, run by Nic Peterkin, the son of two Margaret River pioneers.Night Ranger, “Sister Christian” (1984) Soon enough, we’re back in Mc Kinley’s Land Rover, heading back to the central Barossa to see Tom Shobbrook, whose family farms a parcel down the road from Seppeltsfield, the famous fortified-wine estate with casks of wine dating to 1878.

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