Jun 6, 2011

Wine Weekend in South Australia

As a wedding present we were given a wine trip to South Australia, something we had been wanting to do since we first met. Early one Friday morning In June we set off for the airport, as usual our timing mysteriously went awry and we were the last people on to the plane. ‘Perfect,’ I thought, ‘Terrible,’ according to Mr L’Orange.

After arriving at Adelaide we grabbed our hire car and headed to Hahndorf, a pretty little town heavily influenced by the early German settlers. We had a wander up the quaint main street and then devoured the best bacon and egg roll I’ve ever eaten. The toasted German style roll was filled with double smoked bacon, 2 eggs and a spicy tomato relish – simply divine.

Alas we missed out on visiting Petaluma and some of the other wineries in the area as we weren’t in the mood for tasting at 10am, especially after the early morning start. Instead we drove to Port Willunga to get all our bags dropped off and explore the area. Our holiday house was well equipped, light and airy and better still, just a 2 minute walk from a huge sandy beach.

We visited The Victory Hotel for a spot of lunch and a beer, the place was packed with local winemakers enjoying a long boozy lunch! The food was excellent, the outside covered area was nice and warm and we were keen to come back for more.

In the evening our friends Dave & Chloe arrived and we went for dinner at Fino in Willunga. Every course was beautifully presented and tasted amazing, plus the service was superb – this was certainly a meal to remember. We had a couple of glasses of lip smackingly good fino to start with and then drank a lovely Battle of Bosworth Chardonnay with the entree and a juicy Cascabel Tempranillo with the main course.

We got up early on Saturday to retrieve the car and check out the local farmer’s markets, where we filled up on goodies for the house and enjoyed yet another ‘out of this world’ bacon and egg roll. I could easily move to South Australia for the food alone! Next we focused on what we were here for and piled into our trusty Toyota Yaris and began driving around the vineyards of McLaren Vale. Our trip coincided with the Sea and Vines festival (by mistake) so everywhere was busy – however the cellar door staff simply took it in their stride and still managed to give us lots of attention.

Gorgeous garden

Chloe with McLaren Vale vines in the background

Our first stop was Coriole which had a good range of wines and even better cheese we could buy to go with them. We were a fan of the Sangiovese and bought some for dinner that night along with cheese and (very handily) crackers.

Next we dropped into the interesting cellar door of Samuel's Gorge, it was jam packed with intriguing old objects and was a real pleasure to visit.

The gardens and views across the hills were also stunning, we realised McLaren Vale rates very highly on the ‘pretty and rustic wine region’ scale.

We did a quick stop at Hugh Hamilton’s the Black Sheep, which offered 360 degree views of McLaren Vale from the cellar door which was impressive. Alas the cellar door was packed so it was hard to get served and we were in a bit of a rush to get to lunch.

The view from Hugh Hamilton's
Our lunch spot
Lunch was at the newly taken over Star of Greece, which offers jaw dropping views over the ocean and beach below. The wine list was excellent and the food was superb, service was a bit slow but I think the restaurant had only been open a few weeks so probably just teething issues. Chloe & Dave voted this lunch, the best meal they’d had for the last year – worthy praise from our foodie friends. After lunch we hit the beach to walk off some of the calories we’d consumed over the last 24 hours.

The view during lunch
Post lunch walking location
Sunday we spent driving around the Barossa Valley wine tasting, this is a bit of a trek from McLaren Vale so we wouldn’t recommend combing the two unless you are based in Adelaide or have more time to spare. The wineries we visited were Bethany – great shiraz and port you can buy by the keg (I’ve never seen this anywhere else) and self serve! Rusden was a gorgeous little vineyard with very good red wines, the Shiraz Cabernet was our favourite – definitely pay them a visit if you are in the Barossa.

Moody view across the Seppeltsfield vineyard
The last few leaves on the vines

Our Barossa Bus Driven By Sam

We spent the remainder of our afternoon at Seppeltsfield, an inspiring label that pretty much built its own village complete with chapel, palm tree lined streets, huge gravity fed winery, large barrel room and cellar door. I have never been particularly into fortifieds but a visit to Seppelts has changed all that, the tasting we enjoyed was interesting and personal and most importantly super delicious. Tasting the different styles of port and vintages was educational and enjoyable all at the same time. We also got the impression that the entire place was a true national treasure and a definite ‘must visit’ location if you go to the Barossa. Feeling warm and merry we headed back home to enjoy some wood fired pizzas and yet more red wine of course! 

Seppeltsfield chapel after several wines

The barrelroom at Sepps
We loved our long weekend so much, we have decided to go back for a week next time so we can fit in more wineries and of course breakfast, lunches and dinners.

No comments:

Post a Comment