I can remember exactly where I was when I ordered my first ever bottle of First Drop’s Mother’s Milk. It was around 11 years ago and I was out to dinner with some friends at a great little Italian restaurant on Hindmarsh Square. This particular bottle of wine was memorable for two reasons. One, because it had a label that really stood out from the solemn crowd; an edgy comic that, 11 years ago especially, was unlike any other wine label I’d ever seen. Two, because Mother’s Milk, from that very first sip, became my wine du jour for many, many jours to come.
Flash forward to now and sadly, that little Italian restaurant is no longer there but, very happily, if you venture out to the Barossa and set your sights on Nuriootpa, you’ll find Home of the Brave; home of First Drop Wines and that oh-so-slurpy bottle of Mother’s Milk that I fell in love with all those many moons ago.
John Retsas (JR) and Matt Gant (Gantos) opened Home of the Brave in 2015, creating a space where drinkers of wine and eaters of tapas could mingle and reflect upon the important issues of the day. Issues such as, why are there giant inflatable penguins lurking in various corners of the three rooms that make up Home of the Brave? I really don’t know. Another, equally tricky question is, which of the 14-odd wines on tasting is your favourite?
On the day that I visited Home of the Brave, I was treated to a tasting of three whites, one rosé and a whopping 10 different reds. For a $5 tasting, the cost of which can come off the purchase of any bottle of wine you might like to take home, the bang for buck could be described as cacophonous.
A relaxed and easy-going atmosphere at Home of the Brave lets you really settle in and make yourself at home. JR’s and Gantos’ senses of humour, personalities and no-nonsense attitudes pervade the place, from their clear love of sports (for those not in the cricketing know, the ‘first drop’ is the name of the third batsman in a team’s batting order, being the first batter to drop onto the pitch when one of the two opening batsmen get out), to the chuckle-inducing write ups of their wines in their tasting notes. The Team behind the bar help to round out this ‘at home’ feeling by offering up friendly and attentive service and a solid knowledge of the wines they’re serving.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to really sample the wares of the kitchen this time around, but for one exception. We ordered up a serve each of their generously proportioned spring rolls, which we were strongly encouraged to try by another visitor who was still sighing with contentment and licking her lips after devouring her own serve. Suffice to say, more sighing with contentment and licking of lips (to clarify: we licked our own lips, not hers) were had mere moments later – definitely get the spring rolls folks!
My wine picks? Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio – Endless Summer, Barossa Garnacha – The Matador, Barossa Shiraz – 2%, McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon – Mother’s Ruin and Eden Valley Syrah – Does Your Dog Bite?.
My tapas picks? Well, so far, 100% of the food I’ve tried at Home of the Brave has been right on point! I will definitely be trying to spend much more time out there in the future so that I can make more headway with their menu.
Beckwith Park, 30-38 Barossa Valley Way in Nuriootpa. Right about here.
Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10am until 4pm.