Tom Foolery – Australia, Barossa Valley
The Tomfoolery adventure began in the sweltering heat of the 2004 harvest between best mates Ben Chipman and Toby Yap, and a tonne of old vine Shiraz. The fruit was picked with some generous assistance from friends, then destemmed and basket pressed to produce the first ‘Artful Dodger’ Shiraz. Over the following vintages the boys expanded their production to include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Mataro, Tempranillo and Pinot Noir.
The Tomfoolery winemaking philosophy is simple: small parcels of fruit, hand-crafted through a simple and relatively non-interventional approach with the aim to truly reflect the individual characteristics of the vineyard and variety. Tomfoolery wines are made with old world simplicity in a new world of wine. The fruit from our selected vineyards is hand picked and fermented in small open fermenters, which are pumped over by hand twice daily. Wines are matured in barrel, stacked in pyramids on traditional stillage, and bottled with no fining or filtration.
The Barossa and Eden Valleys were two of the earliest areas to be settled in South Australia, soon after European settlement in 1836. The British came first as farmers and landowners, and then the German speaking Silesian farmers and craftsmen, who brought with them a folk heritage of self sufficiency, a strong Lutheran faith and a tradition of winemaking. The combined influence – of hardworking German farmers and the ambitious British settlers created an interwoven Barossa culture which remains unique amongst Australian settlements.
Soon after settlement in 1842, the Barossa’s first wines were produced, with the main commercial growth taking place from the 1880s onward. Entrepreneurial British and Lutheran settlers built wineries and commenced selling their wines back to the vast marketplace of wine consumers in London. This local industry evolved along a different route from the traditional European practice of grower-winemakers. Although some growers did make wine for their own use, the majority sold grapes to the established wineries.
The region boasts over 750 grapegrowers who have combined their knowledge of the land and its climate with modern viticultural practice, creating a partnership with the 170 large and small wineries whose specialist skills make the most of this superb fruit.
The Barossa has a legendary reputation for its wine, and in particular for its generous, intensely flavoured Shiraz. But there is so much more – and not just other grape varieties, but a host of artisan specialities such as cheese, bread, cured meats, pickles and jams that have been proudly preserved from their European heritage. This is a community united by the fruits of the vine as well as a place of belonging. The Barossa offers friendship and warmth, idyllic landscapes and hand-crafted wines. It is a place of family, friends, tradition and laughter, and you are welcome to share the Barossa story.
Ben and Toby aim to produce individual and unique world-class wines using only hand selected, premium vineyards while taking advantage of the distinctive hallmarks of the Barossa. We ensure that all our vineyard sources offer variety as well as the highest quality.
As vintage approaches we regularly check the fruit in the vineyards personally to ensure every parcel reaches its optimum quality. The Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Cabernet Franc Rosé vineyards are harvested in the early morning to keep them cool for delivery to the winery, were they are gently pressed. After cold settling the clear juice is carefully racked to cooled fermentation tanks and inoculated with selected yeasts. Cool fermentation is followed by minimal handling and gentle filtration prior to bottling.
The red vineyards are also picked in the early morning (to ensure the longevity of the vines and integrity of the fruit, we employ only handpicking techniques) before being delivered to the winery and gently destemmed into stainless open fermenters. These ferments are temperature controlled and the juice is pumped over twice a day for seven days to gently extract, homogenize and regulate temperature before draining and loading the basket press by shovel. The skins are then gently pressed before being blended back into the total blend. The wine completes its malolactic fermentation in barrel, before being racked off lees and matured in new and seasoned American and French oak barrels for 12 to 24 months, depending on wine style. We utilize old world and new world technology, minimal handling, with no fining or filtration to ensure the full potential of the fruit is captured, resulting in fruit driven wines with subtle complexity.
Grape Variety: 100% Shiraz
The Wine: Deep ruby colour with the vibrant pink rim of a fresh young wine. Spicy bramble and black cherry nose with fresh raspberry top notes. Soft damson plum palate with red berry fruit flavours, bright and juicy on a medium bodied elegant palate. Fine tannins and refreshing balancing acidity finish off this easy drinking wine.
Retail Price: S$59.00
Grape Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz
The Wine: Rich purple in colour. On the nose shows intense Shiraz brambles with a herbal Cabernet lift. We love a good ‘Barossa Claret’, and that’s precisely what we’ve got here. Ripe, supple Shiraz with a lovely Cebernet backbone, satisfyingly full-flavoured. Great with rich gamey flavours – preferably game you’ve shot yourself, of course!
Retail Price: S$67.00
Grape Variety: 100% Shiraz
The Wine: The Tomfoolery ‘Black & Blue’ Shiraz is sourced from a select premium vineyard in the northern sub-region of Ebenezer in the Barossa Valley. Grown by 5th generational grape grower Adrian Hoffmann this site offers soils that are commonly sandy loam over heavy red clay which provide a controlled yet accessible source of water allowing the vines to produce stunning fruit. Black and blue in colour. Big and bold aromas, with a punch of plum pudding, liquorice and caraway seeds, all smothered in bramble jam. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, rich and satisfying with ripe plummy fruit and bacon smoke, tightened on the finish by fresh acidity and meaty chunks of firm tannin.
Retail Price: S$74.00