Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

Jacobs Creek

If there is one thing that wine trips have taught me over the years, it is not to judge a book by its cover. Wine is an ongoing personal voyage and no matter how much you think you know, every venture will pleasantly surprise you with new grapes, styles, producers and regions. After three days in Melbourne, I head to Adelaide with a new perspective on Australian wines. My perception completely changed largely due to finding restraint and beauty in Australia’s wines and Adelaide will prove to be another interesting journey.

Adelaide is a city with a lot of charm and good vibes. Beautiful long beachfronts and a number of wine regions are a stone’s throw away, and with its diverse cultural mix, you will find the food to be amazing.

Adelaide beach

Glenelg Beach, a 25-minute tram ride from Adelaide’s centre

South Australia Wine Regions

Photo courtesy of Wolf Blass Wines

 Just a short walk from where we were staying is Bistro Dom.  Owners Ben and Dominika Johnston arrived in Adelaide a decade ago with a vision to create a ‘café du coin’ like bistro, the kind you might find at every corner in Paris. What I love about this place is that it is a great local’s hangout and the food is fabulous.  And if you want to get a sense of local art, the restaurant fills the walls with local contemporary artist work.

South African born Duncan Welgemoed, Chef of Bistro Dom

South African born Duncan Welgemoed, Chef of Bistro Dom

Chef Duncan Welgemoed describes the bistro as informal, buzzy and quirky—interesting food and wine and cheeky service. His work on the menu clearly meets his philosophy of showing off the terroir, the earth, the seasons and the producers. His food is clean and simple with interesting twists and turns, yet he never allows the curves take center stage—it’s the food that does the talking—from cured kingfish to duck breast and chocolate eggs with sea salt caramel for dessert.

Kingfish, Bistro Dom, Adelaide

Cured kingfish, roasted leaks and sea vegetables

Fish of the day, Bistro Dom, Adelaide

Fish of the day

Duck, Bistro Dom, Adelaide

Breast of Waechter’s Muscovy duck  with boudin noir, apples and cinnamon

Chocolate egg with sea salt caramel

Chocolate egg with sea salt caramel

The food went well with the Jacob’s Creek lineup of Riesling and Shiraz:

2008 Jacobs Creek Reserve South Australia Riesling
Think marmalade on toast! Its medium-bodied and very likable with lots of appeal and food paring potential.

2011 Jacobs Creek Reserve Barossa South Australia Riesling
Fresh squeezed apples and limes create a sublime mouthwatering experience

2012 Jacobs Creek Reserve Eden Valley South Australia Riesling
Very clean lines in this lemon, lime and melon extravaganza. Love it!

2004 Jacobs Creek Reserve Barossa South Australia Shiraz
Ripe, rich style with a good dose of blackberry and coffee. Simple and straightforward

2008 Jacobs Creek Reserve Barossa South Australia Shiraz
Fruitcake, plum and spice & everything nice

2010 Jacobs Creek Reserve Barossa South Australia Shiraz
Berries and spice with hints of dark chocolate

Another highlight of this trip was hitting Steingarten vineyard atop a steep hillside of the Eden Valley. Colin Gramp, great grandson of pioneer Johann Gramp of Jacob’s Creek planted Riesling in 1962 on this hillside.  His legacy of planting in schist rock, reminiscent of the Rhine and Mosel valleys of Germany proves worthy of notice, typically receiving high accolades year after year.  These Rieslings certainly changed my perception of Jacob’s Creek – although most of the lineup we see in America are good value everyday drinking wines, they also produce some stellar examples that were simply spectacular.

2006 Jacobs Creek Steingarten Riesling
Strikingly intense layered fresh lime, peach and orange. Finishes with nice citrus, mineral undertones—smooth and graceful.

2012 Jacobs Creek Steingarten Riesling
Awesome floral notes with a soft juicy acidity finishes clean and lively.

Jacobs Creek

Steingarten vineyard


Jacobs Creek Wine Glass

Jacobs Creek

Left: Jacob’s Creek Winemaker Bernard Hickin.  Right: Grower Sam Virgara

Steingarten vineyard

Jacobs Creek wine glass by Enobytes2

So remember the next time you sip your next wine or take your next trip, never judge a book by its cover or a wine by its label. You never know what lies beneath the surface.

A big thank you to Jacob’s Creek for hosting….and a big thank you goes out to Caroline Parrott, Ruth Harris, and Ninja James Keane for keeping this group entertained and enlightened!


About the Author:

Editor and co-founder of, Pamela is a sommelier and former restaurant manager and wine buyer with Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), Court of Master Sommeliers & Center for Wine Origins certification. She has contributed to or been quoted by various publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Sommelier Journal, Vegetarian Times, VIV Magazine, UC-Berkeley Astrobiology News, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, NPR and USA Today. True to her roots, she seeks varietal and appellation integrity and is always passionate about finding the next great bottle of wine.


  1. Jason Marshall July 9, 2013 at 7:17 PM - Reply

    Really nice post and beautiful images! I hope to visit the area next year, and I now have a few places I have to go visit.

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