One of my fondest travel memories is watching the crimson port from Grant Burge slosh about its 10 litre bulk container in the back window of my friend’s Troopy as we convoyed across the Nullarbor in 2004. We had detoured through the Barossa Valley on our way from Melbourne to Perth to try a few wines we could never afford and to buy the few that we could. The plastic container was always packed last, partly because it was unbreakable and could therefore be stuffed in at the last moment with the door quickly slammed to hold it in place, but also partly so that it was easily accessible when we started to unpack and set up camp.
God we were poor! But we were also often drunk; so we were happy.
Although we now drink boutique beers over home brew and it has been a long time since I’ve needed to ferment home-brand apple juice to make apple cider (yes you can and no it doesn’t taste that bad) I still love to search out bargain tipples.
So what does all of this have to do with Pirramimma Wines?
Well Pirramimma Wines quite simply has the best range of bargain wines I’ve come across since Grant Burge port in nondescript bulk plastic containers.
There was not a plastic container in sight when we made Pirramimma our first stop on a wine tasting expedition around McLaren Vale in late January. We weren’t in search of bargains when we decided to visit. We were actually keen to try their fortified wines. Yes we still drink port, but now we drink the fancy stuff in glass bottles and I show how proper I am by calling it fortified wine because port only comes from Portugal.
As Ben had offered to drive that day I set about tasting my way through the entire Pirramimma range (I may be proper now but some things never change). Pirramimma was established in 1892 and has remained a family business for all of this time. The winery was named for the aboriginal phrase for moon and stars. I tasted their premium ranges but my eye kept drifting over to the bargain boxes displayed to the side of the tasting area. Thankfully these wines were available for tasting as well. I wanted to be sure they were a good deal before forking out for a dozen.
Unlike the beverage from that fond decade old memory, at Pirramimma the wine is not packed in crude plastic but real bottles. And these real bottles have real labels on them. This means that it doesn’t look like you are a hobo when you turn up at a mate’s place with some wine to share. And it means that you can trick your friends into thinking that you have spent much more than you have because these bottles taste far more expensive than their tiny price tag. They start at only $80 for a dozen.
I limited myself to 2 cases of wine. I picked the Grey Nomad sparkling with a funky caravan on the label. It reminded me of my own funky caravan. I also bought the Gilded Lily merlot. I’m disappointed now that I didn’t get a box of Sauvignon Blanc as well. I was practising restraint, as it was the first winery of the day.
I’ve got my bargain Pirramimma wine displayed in a wine rack in the lounge room. It reminds me of my summer holiday to South Australia. And it looks better on display than a bulk plastic container of port.