Must Visits in South Australian Wine Country, Australia
Adelaide is surrounded by gorgeous wine country, each with its own distinct landscape, soil and climate, ideal for growing a good variety of grapes. Within an hour’s reach of the capital, Clare Valley, Eden Valley, Barossa, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale can all be found. We did our best with limited time to lush our way around the region, and with some expert advice from local industry players and wine lovers, we discovered some gems we’d never have found on our own. Here we share them with you in our personal Yum List of the best of wine country, South Australia:
(Click on the title links to see complete articles, photos and maps)
It doesn’t get much better than this. Catering to one couple only at a time, this beautiful bed and breakfast, Lucy’s House, benefits from pristine air, stunning vineyard views, country hospitality and a little piece of history, all right in the heart of one of Australia’s most premium wine growing regions, the Barossa Valley. Read about our full experience here.
Stunning surrounds, superbly fresh and innovative cuisine made from near 100% local produce, excellent service and a wine list that must be seen to be believed are all found at this world-class restaurant, Appellation. Sample the best of the Barossa in one beautiful location. Food and wine by themselves are outstanding. Put together in exceptional pairings that start first with the wine, then create fine cuisine to complement, mirror or contrast each drop perfectly, and we’re on Cloud Nine. Read more about this award-winning restaurant here. www.thelouise.com.au
Maggie Beer is an icon in Australia. From the time I was young I remember seeing her on TV and her recipes featured in magazines. A “good country gal” is what my mum would say, when tearing out her latest recipe from the Australian Woman’s Weekly, “with good taste.” Maggie Beer Products have grown to achieve such a gargantuan status across Australia that a large commercial kitchen (a few kilometres away) produces these for distribution countrywide. Visitors to the Maggie Beer Farmhouse Shop however are rewarded with some items that are made in small seasonal batches and only available directly from the Farm Shop or online.
Visitors are encouraged to explore the shop and taste the products – and just about everything for sale is available for sampling first. You’d think they might go under being so generous in the tastings, but firm belief in the quality of the goods clearly pays off, as we didn’t see anyone leaving the store empty handed.
This stunning vineyard property is less than an hour from Adelaide. Alongside breathtaking views, delicious wines and an inspiring kitchen churning out an assortment of tantalizing dishes made from 100% local produce put Coriole high on our Yum List. The Beetroot Salad and Duck Liver Parfait are ‘must eats’ and it’s hard to resist some locally made cheeses, olive oil and verjuice as take home treats too. As far as toothsome drops go, we’re rather fond of ‘The Optimist’ Reserve Chenin Blanc from 2010, and the 2010 Estate Shiraz. Read about our exquisite journey here.
Hahndorf is unapologetically touristic, filled with loads of great German themed restaurants and bars. We were happy to find this cheery café on the main strip however that offers a healthy and delicious menu in a rustic setting. Decked out with upcycled furniture and potted plants, it’s a refreshing change from the traditional stone environments recreated from the past. The menu mimics the décor’s rusticity by focusing on superbly fresh high quality local produce put together simply celebrating the flavours of each ingredient. We tried soups, salads and coffees and found them all faultless.
Southern Crema is our choice for coffee in Hahndorf. Chris and Helen Barton, own a small shop on the main strip, roasting their own beans and onsite baristing too. Blends and single origins change regularly so you’re always in for a treat.
The must buy here is the 10 year old 1850 Grenache elegantly produced from the oldest Grenache vines in the world! That’s right, these vines possibly came out with James Busby on the First Fleet according to the 9th generation wine maker and owner of the crop, Marco Cirillo. Origins confirmed or not, we believe it’s something special that the oldest surviving vines are right here in South Australia, and think they make a mighty fine drop too. With strong character likened to that of gamey meat and blue cheese, we taste leather, earth, ripe fruit and delight in the long dry ending. It’s a beauty for slow sipping and deep conversation, so gather some friends and invest in a case.
* Tastings are only available with advanced bookings.
The Willows – Bonesetter Shiraz
The Willows and its winemaker, Peter Scholz are laden with numerous prizes and acclaim. Whites seem to be unstoppable in their award-attracting goodness, but our personal favourite is a red, the Bonesetter Shiraz. Named as a salute to family history (a long line of medical practitioners and a hospital on site), the Bonesetter hails from a single block of vineyard planted in 1969. Aged in French oak, it’s full of depth and produces a dusty, savoury tannin background that makes us want to keep chewing our cheeks to savour the flavours as long as possible.
Samuel’s Gorge not only features some of the most luscious reds we sampled on this trip, but also showcases fantastic views from its nest on the hilltop. This boutique winery is housed in historic buildings solidly constructed from stone back in the 19th Century. Antiques furnish the tasting room, and the characters who produce the wine seem to have just as much depth and as many stories behind them as the do the collector’s treasures themselves. A mighty fine tempranillo began our tasting but what we fell in love with was the Shiraz. Filling the mouth with juicy fruitiness, layers of complexity settle across the palate, and it finishes up round and smooth. Samuel’s Gorge blends are gorgeous too, so allow some time for slow sipping and delightful cogitation. Check out the winery here.
The Lane – Spectacular Property – there’s a restaurant too, so make a booking and soak up the views with a bottle of beautiful white wine
Chardonnay is the must buy here. Cool climate grapes produce such a wonderful wine that those who have snobbishly gone off chardonnay and now claim to only drink sauvignon blanc (poor you by the way there as there are so many fabulous wines out there to limit yourself to one varietal), this crisp mouth filling drop will have you wondering why you left it in the first place. Be sure to grab a bottle of The Lane Vineyard Reginald Germein Chardonnay. It’s elegantly textured with layers of citrus and stone fruit, and is a chef’s dream for buttery and salty dishes. Awesome alone, but exceptional with food, purchase a bottle or a case directly from the cellar door to also appreciate some of the loveliest views in the area.