Category: Otherness

ANGASTON CHEFS COLLECTIVE

INTRODUCING ANGASTON CHEFS COLLECTIVE

Based out of Otherness Wine Bar in Angaston we are a group of thoughtful, socially conscious chefs who share a similar outlook on food and enjoy cooking together. Having worked in renowned restaurants around the region and the world, we have all now found our way to the Angaston area.  We would like to bring our experience to the town and wider community through a series of one-off events and short-term residencies running throughout April and May 2024.

Resident Otherness chef Sam Smith says “Angaston is a very special and unique sub region of the greater Barossa.  We have an amazing wealth of dining and chefs in such a small area.  It feels natural to start bringing us all together.  This collaboration feels like a natural extension of the inclusive approach we have established to dining at Otherness. No fanfare, just great food, enjoyed either as a snack with a glass of wine or the full tasting menu experience”.

The series will kick off with the ‘Angaston Chefs Collective Launch Dinner’ on Saturday 6th April.  A collaborative 4 course shared meal and snack menu featuring dishes from all of the team. $180 per head.  Spaces limited. Bookings essential via otherness website: CLICK HERE

This will be followed by our collaborative residencies with Clare Falzon joining Emily Thomas throughout April, and Sandor Palmai joining Sam Smith throughout May. The residencies will maintain the essence of our wine bar style menu, remain inclusive, and are an opportunity to bring new influences and flavours to our Otherness customers.

We also hope to extend the initiative through future collaborations, residencies and events at Otherness and around the region.

Our current members of Angaston Chefs Collective include:

Sam Smith – After a move to the Barossa and a long stint as Executive Chef at Fino Seppeltsfield, Sam has brought his relaxed, produce driven, collaborative and community focused approach to dining to Otherness.  

Emily Thomas – Resident chef at Otherness, Emily has worked throughout the world including stints at London’s The River Café, Bills in Sydney, and running her family’s own orchard and garden café in New Zealand.  She is obsessed with seasonal quality produce and connecting with like-minded cooks & producers. Food and travel memories are at the core of what inspires her to cook, share and find joy in life.

Clare Falzon – Former Executive Chef of Hentley Farm Restaurant, holds a strong emphasis on the importance of quality produce, food experiences, and the role these play in community, connection and wellbeing. Before making the move from the east coast to Barossa, much of Clare’s career included working, learning and travelling both interstate and abroad. These experiences have greatly influenced their approach to cooking and creativity. The abundance of exceptional South Australian produce allows Clare to cook passionately and without inhibition.

Sandor Palmai – Recently ended his tenure as Rockford Stonewall table chef and Krondorf farm manager and has been an integral part of the Barossa food scene for many years. He was involved in the landmark beginnings of 1918, The Landhaus and Barr Vinum. He has a deep understanding of produce and the ethics that underpin his food. Sandor is committed to fostering community connections and creating collaborative, memorable dining experiences.

“From the beginning, the concept of ‘collaboration’ has been integral to the spirit of Otherness. It feels as though a potent energy is unleashed when two different minds come together and begin to explore divergent approaches, both in winemaking and in cooking.

Sam and Emily have been inspiring each other within the Otherness kitchen for nearly two years. Their repertoire of quiet, thoughtful, seasonal dishes continues to evolve and to surprise and delight our audience of local regular customers.

But Sam’s new initiative offers even more scope for collaborative excellence. Otherness is poised to become the culinary equivalent of New York’s Brill Building, when songwriters including Burt Bacharach, Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka, Paul Simon and Carole King worked in adjoining booths within the eleven-story building and collectively wrote some of the greatest hits of the period. 

One can only imagine the dishes that with will emerge when these four chefs begin tuning their mandolins”.  – Grant Dickson, Otherness Proprietor.

Otherness wine bar is open from: 
Thursday – Saturday, 11am – 10pm
Sunday – Monday, 11am – 4pm.
Bookings via otherness.com.au

2022 OTHERNESS ‘SKULD’ EDEN VALLEY RIESLING

NEW VINTAGE RELEASE AVAILABLE NOW
Click Here for Wine Shop

Winemaker: Ian Hongell

Ian Hongell was formerly chief winemaker for Peter Lehmann and responsible for many of the great Wigan Rieslings released over the last decade. He was thrilled to continue his Riesling legacy with Otherness in tandem with his chief winemaker duties at Torbreck, where he is crafting some of the Barossa’s most exciting wines made from classic Rhone Varietals.

A magical vintage in SA coaxed a delicious cornucopia of flavours from high-grown Riesling, captured here by Ian Hongell. As well as the expected lime and lemon, white florals and quinine weave their way through the mix.

REVIEWS

94 Points

“Pale with green flashes in the glass and aromas of freshly squeezed lime, grapefruit, Bickford’s lime cordial, Christmas lily, orange blossom and crushed quartz. Some nice texture on the palate with dots of lemon curd and crème fraiche, fine lacy acidity that provides ample tension and propulsion as the wine scoots to a precise limey finish”. Made by Ian Hongell.

Dave Brookes, Halliday Wine Companion 2024

94 Points

“Has a sense of precision and poise, tightly wound Riesling delivered from limey citrus and crunchy green apple with faint blackcurrant elements and a twist of dill-like green herb. Sizzles in the palate with its skeletal acid profile and yet we find gentle nuance of lees in hazelnut and almond savouriness. The resulting wine is excellent, drinking superbly right here, right now”.

Mike Bennie, WBM July/August 2023

TWO YEARS OF OTHERNESS

On 23rd December 2021, Otherness opened its doors at 38 Murray Street, Angaston. Since then we have built a business that continues to surprise both our guests and ourselves.

Our ambitions were initially modest. A small cellar door that magically transformed into a neighbourhood wine bar a couple of nights a week. 

Having come from a restaurant background, my mind was clear: I wanted to keep things simple, elemental. I wanted a venue where we could showcase our wines and tell stories. Our wines are intensely collaborative and celebrate friendships with several of our region’s most talented winemakers. I was adamant that a small contingent of hand-picked waiting staff could help me tell these stories, sell a bit of wine both on-premise and off, and that we could assemble some classic wine bar fare without needing chefs or a kitchen team.

Enter Sam Smith. I will tell more about this humble genius in a future profile of his life and work, but suffice to say he has revolutionised my thinking and helped us move beyond our original aspirations whilst at the same time staying true to the humility of the initial concept. Sam’s menus started small. They proudly sourced local produce and smallgoods.

A systems-based formula whereby a single chef with the assistance of enthusiastic Front of House staff could assemble dishes that from the very beginning thrilled our local regular customers. Early restaurant reviews (thank you Simon Wilkinson and Katie Spain) enthusiastically noted the different approach within our dining offering. 

Two years on, we have moved beyond that starting point. Emily Thomas has joined Sam in the kitchen; a team of the highest calibre staff have joined me on the floor and in the overall management of the business: Charlie Schultz, Casey Pfeiffer, Tess Matthai. But it has been Sam who has driven the changes. We are not on everyone’s radar yet, but those who have experienced our recent menus will attest to the excitement coming out of the kitchen. 

Sam and Emily’s dishes proudly track the seasonal availability of locally grown ingredients. The culinary influences are diverse and impeccably researched. I have had customers from Venezuela tell me that they have never had better arapas, customers from Bologna tell me that they have never enjoyed better osso bucco. The list goes on.

We have also started a deli offering, selling a small selection of amazing take-out dishes, house-made pastes, oils, relishes, pickles. We call it Otherness Elsewhere. Yes, you can take the Otherness experience home with you or on your picnic. There is the range of Otherness wines to augment your food selection, or you can purchase both Australian and international wines from the shelves of our bottle shop. 

I wish to thank Sam and all my other staff for what they have brought to Otherness. Thank you to those customers who drive from Kapunda, Greenock and other parts of the Barossa on a weekly basis to dine with us. And thank you Angaston. It has been a pleasure to be welcomed into the heart of the best and most beautiful town in the Barossa.

The best thing? Two years in, we all recognise that the best is yet to come. 

Grant, Sam, Emily, Charlie, Casey, Tess, Andy and team Otherness.

The Night Before, the night before…

BOOK A TABLE

Otherness will open its doors for the last time before Christmas on Saturday 23rd December (before reopening on Thursday, 28 December).

We see the evening of the 23rd as a chance to offer our regular customers some respite from the rigours of their Christmas preparations. We have planned a low-key event where delicious food will be served from the bar and guests can partake of Sam and Emily’s dishes free of charge.  We ask instead that you make a donation of an amount you feel appropriate directly to one of our two nominated charities, Foundation Barossa and Save the Children.  Or alternatively please feel free to donate to any other cause close to your heart.

Of course the range of Otherness Wines will be available to enjoy on the night or as stocking fillers to take away with you; other wine, Champagne, beer and cocktails will be available to purchase as well. Did I mention gift cards?

This is a great opportunity to enjoy a sense of community and the pleasure of some great company, with the proceeds of food sales going to some really worthy causes. Charity is important to me, as is the notion of giving back to our community. We remember how generously our people responded to our Ukraine night last year. 

Join us and enjoy the gift of giving.

Oh What A Night – NYE Party!

New Year’s Eve at Otherness

December 2023 (Oh what a night!)
Date: Sunday, 31 December
Time: 6pm for 7pm Dinner
Address: 38 Murray Street, Angaston, SA 5353
Cost: $120 (Includes 4 Courses + Glass of Wine)
Book a Table Here or call us on 8563 6595 to secure your seat.

Ready for New Year? We all feel the need for a short collective sigh and a celebratory drink!

We are planning a special night during which all anxieties will be banished as our guests are liquored up with great sparkling wine, festive cocktails and all wines on the shelves.

The food? Sam and Emily are planning a seasonal, celebratory four course menu. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!

The music will be a bit louder than usual, but no duff duff. ‘70’s focus with some ‘60’s and 80’s thrown in. Dance tracks, singalongs.  All your favourites, including Frankie Valli.  Casey is coordinating the staff attire (yes, that worries the hell out of always-dressed-in-blue Grant!) so there’s no excuse not to frock up with latex, sequins and your favourite festive spangly bits. No need to keep it too modest. Angaston with attitude.

Our inhouse chalk board notifications and chats have already resulted in several bookings, so please don’t hesitate. We received so much amazing feedback from customers following last year’s event that there is likely to be a rush! Get on it!

Countdown the new year at your friendly neighbourhood wine bar!

2022 Otherness ‘Urth’ Clare Valley Riesling

NEW VINTAGE RELEASE AVAILABLE NOW
Click Here for Wine Shop

This is our fifth release of Urth, a wine originally conceived with my old mate Neil Pike.

By way of background, I began discussing Riesling possibilities with Neil and Ian Hongell back in 2017. 

Ian had recently taken the job of chief winemaker at Torbreck, leaving Peter Lehmann Wines, where amongst his suite of duties, he had made their Wigan Riesling. Torbreck had no ambition to make a Riesling, being focussed on grape varieties from the Rhone. But Ian confided in me, letting me know that the one wine that gave him goose bumps was Riesling.

Neil was sitting with us as we discussed several possibilities; we even considered an Eden Valley / Clare blend where components crafted by both Ian and Neil were made separately (and very differently) and subsequently blended together.

Eventually, we decided to make two different wines, allowing each winemaker to explore winemaking possibilities that were not possible or practical within their own businesses.

My early Riesling discussions with Neil coincided with the growing South Australian interest in Rieslings raised in oak, much as Riesling has been traditionally made in its ancestral homes of Germany, Alsace and Austria. We have seen high profile (and delicious) releases from John Hughes (Riesling Freak No.1) Jim Barry (Wolta Wolta) and Rockford (Vine Vale).

There has also been an increased interest in fermenting Riesling without the addition of added yeast; wild fermentation tends to encourage deeper flavours within the finished wine.

Recognising pleasing elements in Rieslings made both in stainless steel and old oak, both in inoculated and wild ferments, we came up with a plan to make a blend that harnessed all the advantages of tank, barrel, inoculation and wild ferment.

Since our first release of Urth, the fruit has always come from the same patch of the pristine vineyards grown by Pikes in Polish Hill River. The fruit has always been picked together and divided into two different components; one inoculated with a neutral yeast and raised in stainless steel, the other wild-fermented in old barrels and left on texture-enhancing lees. 

Neil ‘left the building’ in 2020, to concentrate on his amazing Lime Finger wines (note that his 2022 Lime Finger ‘Solace’ Riesling from Polish Hill River was recently awarded the Halliday gong for Riesling of the Year). The Urth project has continued pretty seamlessly since Neil departed Pikes. The Pikes team of Steve Baraglia and Andrew Kenny have been enthusiastically invested in the project; our group blending sessions have stimulated great excitement as we see the difference in the base wines each year.

Deciding on the final ratio of the two components has always been the fun part! In both 2020 and 2021, we settled on a blend of 60% tank, 40% barrel. The cut and drive of the tank component with elevated upper partials has been given gravitas by the deeper weight of the smaller component from barrel.

When we went through the same exercise for Urth ‘22, we immediately assembled the blend using the 60/40 formula, swirled, tasted, looked at each other, smiled and locked it in. 

2022 is a special vintage for Riesling in SA. Early in the wine’s development, there is an apparent delicacy, with cooler vintage aromatics of fennel fronds as well as the expected river stones, lime blossom and preserved lemon. But it’s the sything, saline tsunami of feisty acidity that makes me gasp with pleasure. Hold me back! This is so damn drinkable, but you just know that it will look even better in five. Maybe even in twenty.

We don’t make much of this and seem to sell out a bit faster each year. Don’t hesitate. Let the Urth move for you…

Boom, Bust & an Ear Full of Cider

Launching Detroit: an Otherness Wine Dinner. 
Thursday, 17th August 2023, 6:30pm

Tickets: $140
Buy Tickets

At Otherness, we don’t have much ‘derivative’ in our DNA. Our most recent wine release ‘Detroit’ reinforces this. 

Most new wines are crafted by a winemaking team; the vision and details are shot through to a marketing dept. A story is concocted which is then wrapped around the finished ‘product’. 

Detroit gave us the opportunity to reverse this. I knew a great story, one of the Barossa’s best. So we wrapped a wine around a story. 

Over dinner, we are going to spin out the story of Masterson. A Shiraz Cabernet made by the great Peter Lehmann during the 1978 vintage. I have a couple of bottles of that wine which will be opened on the night. 

Marco Cirillo made Detroit for us. He’ll be there. And I’m in the process of recruiting other Masterson ‘connections’ for first-hand contemporaneous perspective.

Sam Smith and Emily Thomas will present another great Otherness Wine-Dinner menu of claret-friendly food. 

If you enjoy a good tale and you’re fond of a claret, you’re going to love this! 

Seats are strictly limited, so don’t linger!

Chardonnay Dinner, 20 July

Join us at Otherness along with hosts Michael Hall & Duane Coates for a special night with some incredible bottles of Chardonnay paired with a 6 course dinner.

Date: Thursday, 20 July
Time: 6:30pm
Address: 38 Murray Street, Angaston, SA 5353
Cost: $270 (includes 6 course dinner & wine)
Tickets: Buy Tickets

Chardonnay hasn’t always been an easy fit in the Barossa. Although there continue to be fine expressive examples grown and crafted in the upper reaches of Eden Valley, most Chardonnay growers in our region are grateful for the continued consumer demand for verjuice.

Over many years of running fine wine lists tailored for the discerning winemakers in our region, I discovered that Chardonnay, even more that Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo attracted the most interest, curiosity, argument and absolute reverence.

It is with great pleasure that I’m pulling some extraordinary Chardonnays from the cellar. Bottles and magnums of Champagne, Chablis, Puligny Montrachet, Macon from some of my favourite producers. And who better to guide us through the innerworkings of this ‘winemaker’s grape’ than two of our favourite SA Chardonnay practitioners: Duane Coates and Michael Hall.

Sam Smith and Emily Thomas are in Chardonnay-collaboration mode. Exploring menu possibilities.

This will be special. Tickets are already selling quickly…

Otherness Detroit Shiraz + Cabernet

2022 OTHERNESS ‘DETROIT’ SHIRAZ + CABERNET SAUVIGNON AVAILABLE NOW
Made by Marco Cirillo


BUY WINE

The Barossa’s wine industry isn’t immune to the changing trends of a fickle marketplace. Tastes change; buying patterns change. The imposition of 116-218% tariffs on Australian wine exports to China has exacerbated an existing problem of oversupply and has again demonstrated that our exporters are prone to loading a single basket with too many eggs.

Driving through the back roads of the Barossa in early June 2023, seeing vineyards still laden with shrivelled fruit made me feel the pain and despair of growers who were beginning the long task of winter pruning, without having the confidence that they will sell a single berry in 2024.

During a similar downturn in the late 1970s, red wine sales flatlined. Peter ‘My word is my bond’ Lehmann (then chief winemaker at Saltram) was directed by Dalgety’s (the pastoral company that owned the winery) to inform their grape growers that they would not be purchasing the fruit contracted for the 1978 vintage.

In a mad gamble, Lehmann together with his mate, industry legend Robert Hesketh masterminded ‘Masterson’: a brave and honourable attempt to extract some financial return for the local Barossa families with whom he had previously, in good faith, shaken hands on the agreed sale of their grapes.

The 1978 ‘Masterson’, a Shiraz Cabernet was made in the Saltram winery.

The high-risk nature of the venture wasn’t lost on Peter and his wife Margaret. Peter, whose favourite author was Damon Runyon, came up with the ‘Masterson’ nomenclature and the reference to Sky Masterson from ‘Guys and Dolls’, the character played by Marlon Brando in the 1955 movie of the musical. The iconography on the Masterson label, the Queen of Clubs followed through to the branding of Peter Lehmann Wines, established in 1982, ostensibly as a ‘winery for the growers’. 

I’ve spoken to many of the cast of characters in the Masterson story. Margaret, Dave and Phil Lehmann, Robert Hesketh, Charles Melton (a young winemaker working with Lehmann at the time). Just last week, grape grower Roger Mattschoss informed me that he had provided fruit for the 1978 wine; a particularly poignant recollection for Roger, as he was about to start dropping 70 tons of rejected 2023 Shiraz on the ground.

Otherness ‘Detroit’ is named after the other main character in Guys and Dolls, Nathan Detroit, who ran an illegal craps game in New York city and is played by Frank Sinatra in the movie. The wine, also a Shiraz Cabernet, was made by my mate Marco Cirillo, who also crafts the Otherness 440 Cabernet. Marco is married to Annika Lehmann, Peter’s granddaughter, so more strands of familial narrative twist together to link this with Masterson ‘78.

Charlie Melton remembered that they couldn’t afford to purchase oak in 1978, so the wine was raised in Stainless Steel. Detroit was also largely raised in tank. Marco had a particular stylistic approach in mind, whereby the fresh vibrancy of the 2022 vintage was captured, but there was some play possible in softening the finished wine with a barrel-aged component.

The wine is delicious. Bright, juicy, fresh and oh so drinkable. I can sense the kinship with Marco’s ‘Vincent’ and like Vincent, Detroit is bottled under Stelvin.

I’ve had a long fascination with the Barossa’s history, largely fostered during the years I worked for Robert O’Callaghan who has always been so aware of the stories, traditions and the characters who conspired to influence the great region this has become. 

The cycle of prosperity and economic contraction will always affect our Barossa wine and viticultural industries. Driving through the ruins of Rutherglen a few years ago, I realised that by contrast, the Barossa has always had a capacity to overcome. To regenerate. To tighten budgets and hold its collective nerve. 

For all the negative outcomes of the downturn in the late 1970s (for example the government-sponsored 1980s vine pull scheme) Peter Lehmann and the Masterson story helped change the perception of a region which had previously been known for a number of high-profile brands that released wines that didn’t often acknowledge the region from which they came. 

After 1978 and Peter Lehmann, the audience suddenly realised that there were legion families who over generations had lovingly tended their vineyards. 

Let’s toast Peter and Barossa grape growers by raising a glass of Detroit!

“One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you’re going to wind up with an ear full of cider” – Sky Masterson to Nathan Detroit, Guys and Dolls

Join our Team

Otherness Wines is a multifaceted business operating as a Cellar Door, Wine Bar & Kitchen in the heart of Angaston, Barossa Valley and we are looking for new people to join our team.

Our business is unique in operation, with our staff happy to jump in, learn and help in all areas where needed. The ideal candidate/s would also have an open-minded approach to any and all tasks as well.

We are looking for a chef interested to work alongside a small but dedicated team. With a regularly changing menu and a focus on great local produce.

We are also looking for a food and beverage attendant happy to tackle any job; making coffee, hosting wine tastings, serving, sales, cleaning etc.
Experience is preferred for both roles, but we are also looking for people that show a passion for connecting with others and communicating the love of what we do through our wine, our food, and our service, while having a little bit of fun.

We offer flexibility in rostering, but weekend and evenings are required.

We would love to hear from anyone interested in either position but are happy to combine these roles for the right person.

Please send through your resume and cover letter to Charlie at otherness@otherness.com.au

Get the Latest News and Wine Releases