Celebrate Family Fun with Eight at the Gate’s Shiraz Paired with Pie Floaters #WorldWineTravel

2 reds from 8 at the Gate paired with meat pie floater

In the spirit of reconciliation, Eight at the Gate  acknowledges the First Nations people of our region, the Bindjali people who are the traditional custodians of the land, and their spiritual relationship with this country. So states Eight at the Gate  prominently on their website setting a tone for respect for people and place.

It’s an upside down world right now: two years of COVID, and now Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So many serious issues. So it is reassuring to see statements like the one above– some changes are for the better, like the recognition that the vines we grow come from land that others cared for before us: Ventura County vineyards, where I live, are on Chumash land which you can read about here.
But also from my perspective in the northern hemisphere where it is still late winter, with a few more weeks to spring, we’re upside down compared to the Southern Hemisphere. And harvest? That kind of upside down that’s happening now “Down Under” I can understand and handle. 
In the northern hemisphere, we’re finishing up pruning and getting ready for bud break. But in Australia, it’s harvest-time, and a time to celebrate all the hard work! 

This year, the World Wine Travel group of wine writers is hanging out “Down Under” (find an overview here)” and this month we focus on red wines from South Australia 

Our featured winery for this month’s focus on red wines from South Australia and next month’s on white wines is “Eight at the Gate” in Wrattonbully located in the southern part of the South Australia growing area in a region known as the “Limestone Coast” between Coonawarra and Padthaway. Eight at the Gate refers to the tradition of eight cousins who would gather at the gate or sit on a fence somewhere together. 
The owners are sisters with four children each: Jane Richards is the sister who operates the business side of the operation and Clare Davies runs the cellar. These days, the children are almost all grown up and are involved in the family business in one way or the other; read more here. 

photo Courtesy Eight at the Gate more recently

I reached out to Jane via email to find out about the 2022 harvest and to learn more about Eight at the Gate. She generously responded recently to share that
“Vintage for us hasn’t started officially yet although we are preparing to hand pick our Chardonnay for our bottle fermented Sparkling Brut de Brut. It’s the first time we are making this product so it is quite exciting. Unfortunately we have to wait nearly 2 years to taste it though as a bottle fermented product takes time.” 
Jane continued to say that “yields are down a bit this year on last year which is probably a good thing as there is a definite imbalance in Australia at the moment when it comes to red fruit. China was such a large export market for South Australia, 50%, so with the placement of the enormous tariff of over 200% on Australian wine that they placed on us a couple of years ago” made it difficult. While Eight at the Gate doesn’t “export to China however we grow grapes for many other wine companies who did export to China therefore our grape sales will be a bit challenging this year. Only for red fruit though, the Chinese were not into white wine much so luckily we have a nice mix in our vineyard. 

The good news is that we will probably make more wine to go into Eight at the Gate this year which we very much hope we can share with the American market.”
Eight at the Gate has strong ties to the United States which makes it easier for American consumers to find and purchase the wines (here). Jane says “all my children were born in the United States. I lived in San Francisco and New York for eight years in the late 90’s, early 2000’s. So I love coming back to the US when I can. Our US website is now up and running for direct to consumer purchases. The wine is already in the US and would be shipped from California. We are currently offering a 20% discount and reduced shipping for six bottles or over. The code you can use is matesrates.”
While members of Sustainable Winemaking Australia (read more Here) “Eight at the Gate”  is undergoing a certification process for SWA that is relatively new. Unlike many winegrowing areas where there is a monoculture of vineyards making them targets for disease, Eight at the Gate’s vineyards are located in “a very bio diverse environment which really helps with our management of the vineyard,” writes Jane. “We are not certified organic or biodynamic however we practice a number of the principles. The organic certification here is very restrictive and we grow and manage vineyards for other growers also who are not certified. For us to become certified we would not be able to use our equipment on their vineyards which just won’t work for us at the moment”
“The sustainable practices we use keep our vineyards extremely healthy and do not require the use of heavy chemicals anyway. We run a black Suffolk sheep stud which allows us to run the sheep through the vineyard in the non-growing times, we also have guineafowl and predatory bugs that keep it nice and clean for us,” Jane told me.
All of this vegetation helps with attracting the good bugs, she pointed out. “We also have a solar project underway which will have our entire operation utilising 100% green energy very soon.”
I asked Jane about some of her favorite pairings and about Australian cuisine in general. She said it “is very diverse, we have many cultures living here and we fully embrace all of their cuisines. I would say Asian cuisine is probably the most influential; we have an enormous number of different styles of Asian cuisine here.”
In my research, I discovered “pie floaters” as a classic Adelaide dish so I asked her about it: “The old pie floater is definitely one us oldies have probably all tried, however not one my kids have! It seems to have gone by the wayside with the passing of years a bit, but it is delicious. And the pea soup is bright green and you absolutely must have red tomato sauce on the top!” 

South Australia Menu

  • Pie Floater:
    Stemple Creek Beef Party Pie with Mushy Peas and Catsup
    I wanted to make these Mushy Peas but COULDN’T’ find the dried peas so went with frozen peas and IT’S NOT THE SAME!! I learned I can order them on Amazon or I might try split peas (which I also had a hard time finding). Also, many recipes say it’s not quite like the mushy peas you get in the UK but more like a split pea soup, which I would definitely do next time. However the meat pies, made in a muffin tin with pie crust below and puff pastry above using Stemple Creek Ranch sustainably grown beef were winners! Hand pies are a great idea for a party, and we love the easy twist off closure on the wines for family gatherings as well! 

Eight at the Gate

South Australia Wines from Eight at the Gate

Eight at the Gate says that the “First Nations Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains talk of pangkarra – an Aboriginal word used by the concept of Country with its particular characteristics. So when you think terroir, we think pangkarra. Wrattonbully Country, with a discernible sense of place, and a signature character reflecting the aggregated effects of the region’s soil, topography, hydrology, climate, geology, and environment. Our family lives, breathes and sleeps the realities of Wrattonbully wine.”

  • 2016 Eight at the Gate Cabernet Shiraz Single Vineyard $28

2016 Eight at the Gate Cabernet Shiraz Single Vineyard

ABV 14.7%
SRP $28
Blend: 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Shiraz

Color: Extremely dark and dense, dark plum with a garnet rim

Aroma: Cedar, cigar box, cherry tobacco, sweet vanilla, eucalyptus, fresh and clean, cassis, 

Palate: Very dry, dark cherry, black cherry and blackberry, black walnut finish, bold tannins, 

Pairings: This would be a great BBQ wine. Sue just wanted a chunk of blue cheese with the wine,  but that was not what we were doing this evening. The peas and the pie was quite nice with the wine. There was a sweetness to the dish that went quite well with the wine. The same as if you had a sweet  BBQ sauce topping a pice of meat on the grill. The mint in the peas brings out the nice herbal aspects in the wine. On a subsequent evening, we made Italian meatballs in pasta sauce, and the wine worked well with the herbs in the meatball as well as the tomato sauce. We also had asparagus sautéed in lots of herbs and butter, and again, the wine was wonderful with the herbs.

Color: Dark and dense, garnet with a brickish rim.

Aroma: Bramble fruit, blackberry, blue berry, cedar, musk, savory with fruit, wet soil, 

Palate: Very pure, quite dry, blueberry bramble berry finish, this is not a flabby fruity wine, it is clean with great acidity, wild blueberry lingers. Christmas pine, both of us found this to be a very interesting wine. The finish is quite intriguing. Very enjoyable with or without food. 

Pairing: The party pies and the wine are perfect together bringing out even more of the blue fruit in the wine. The beef was very rich and beefy and the wine cut through the richness.Fantastic with the mushy peas. The wine loves the minty freshness and the bright lemon. I want the Shiraz with a rack of lamb, so I may very well want to do it. This wine also went well with the Italian meatballs in pasta sauce, as well as with the asparagus sautéed in lots of herbs and butter, but what I really wanted with this wine was rack of lamb coated in rosemary and garlic! There’s one more glass left, so maybe I’ll get my wish! Otherwise, next time!

Overall we found these to be fine Australian wines pleasing to an American palate. 

Has all this talk about red wine from South Australia got you thirsting for more? Check out these articles from the World Wine Travel group of wine writers, and join our #WorldWineTrvel twitter chat on Sat. 2/26/28. 

Twitter chat questions:

G’Day, Mates! Join #WorldWineTravel this weekend as we chat about red wines from South Australia at 8am Pacific 2/26/22. Participants and chat questions here: https://wp.me/pj3XZ-8G5

  • 8a Q1 G’day and howzitgarn! Welcome to the February World Wine Travel chat on red wines from Southern Australia! Say hi, introduce yourself, share a selfie, and a link to your blog if relevant. Remember to use the #WorldWineTravel hashtag.
  • 8:05 Q2 Q2. In 2022 #WorldWineTravel heads “Down Under” to OZ and NZ! Today we focus on reds from #SoAUS like Clare Valley, Barossa, Eden Valley, Adelaide Hills, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Wrattonbully. Are #SoAus wines new to you? Where’s your wine from? Invite https://wp.me/pj3XZ-8EH
  • 8:10a Q3 Southern Australia is justly famous for its shiraz but Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cabernet Sauvignon are also grapes grown there.  What varietal did you taste? Or was it a blend? #WorldWineTravel
  • 8:15 Q4 In five words, can you describe your #WorldWineTravel tasting experience this month with red wines from South Australia? Please share the link to your post with us!
  • 8:20 Q5 Did you observe differences between these international varieties grown in their home countries, in the US, or from So Aus? Please share! #WorldWineTravel 
  • 8:25 Q6 Did you prepare something special to enjoy with your #SouthAustralia wine? Share tidbits about the pairing, a pic, and a link to the recipe if you have one. Did you try or learn about any traditional #SoAus or #Australian dishes? #WorldWineTravel
  • 8:30 Q7 Did you find the paring successful? Why or why not? What did you learn? What would you pair with this #SoAustralian red wine a second time around? #WorldWineTravel
  • 8:35 Q8 What did you learn about the producer behind your #SouthAustralia red wine? #WorldWineTravel 
  • 8:40 Q9 Have you visited #SouthAustralia? If so, please share a fun fact about the trip! Remember, we crave travel photos!  If you haven’t gone yet, is it on your bucket list?  What are highlights for you? #WorldWineTravel
  • 8:45 Q10 In the spirit of reconciliation, @eight_gate acknowledges the First Nations people, the Bindjali, the traditional custodians, and their spiritual relationship with the region. Please share about the First Nations people there or other facts about the wine. #WorldWineTravel
  • 8:50 Q11 Shoutout to #WorldWineTravel bloggers who participated today: @allison_wallace @CrushGrapeChron @WendyKlik @tsteffes @linda_lbwcsw @sommstable @Vignetocomm @foodwineclick @culinary_cam  @GrapeExp_Cindy
  • 8:55 Q12 Any last comments or questions? Have you written about wine from #SouthAustralia before?  Share your thoughts, comments, questions, inspirations or links! #WorldWineTravel
  • 9a Thank you for joining us at #WorldWineTravel today! Find links to our published articles here: https://wp.me/pj3XZ-8Pa See you next month as Lynn at @Savortheharvest leads our discussion on white wines from #SouthAustralia. 

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10 thoughts on “Celebrate Family Fun with Eight at the Gate’s Shiraz Paired with Pie Floaters #WorldWineTravel

  1. Thank you for this amazing introduction, we are big fans of south Australian wine and have never tried Eight at the Gate. Hoping that we can find it easily in Canada too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fascinating interview you had with Jane. The insights into yields, demand, and tariffs are enlightening. Often the lack of buyers for growers becomes a boon for us consumers as the people on the land growing the grapes who are so in touch with the place, begin making more of their own wines. I will be looking for 8 at the gate in my wine shops!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. MMMMM I love meat pies with mushy peas! It takes me back to the time we spent in Aus. (I’ll probably have to make some as well before our exploration of Aus complete.) I love the Eight and Eight Story — thanks for sharing and I’ll definitely now be on the lookout for the wines.

    Liked by 1 person

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