Magnificent McLaren Vale

Magnificent McLaren Vale

No trip to South Australia is complete without a visit to a winery or two… or more! A recent work trip took me to beautiful Adelaide and I grabbed the opportunity to visit some vineyards with both hands! You see, my home of North Queensland, while beautiful, has a climate that is not conducive to traditional wine production. On the flipside, the climate is pretty good for enjoying wine (just perhaps not a full-bodied shiraz in the middle of summer…)!

Having previously visited the Barossa Valley on a previous trip to Adelaide eight years ago, I chose to explore the region of McLaren Vale through experiencing food’s McLaren Vale Winery Experience. Danny from Adelaide’s Top Food and Wine Tours picked my colleague and I up from our accommodation in Adelaide and drove our small group of six through Adelaide, Glenelg and south along the Fleurieu Peninsula towards the McLaren Vale wine region. We were lucky enough to have a glorious warm and sunny day for our tour and the scenery was fabulous.

First stop was d’Arenberg where we marvelled at the almost-complete d’Arenberg Cube – a $13 million Rubik’s cube-inspired building which will house a new tasting room, bars, and restaurant. I think I’ll have to return once it’s open as it looks amazing from the outside! We enjoyed d’Arry’s wines and the view over the vineyards while getting to know our co-tourists.

Our next stop was Fox Creek Wines where we were seated in a beautiful, sunny room in an old stone cottage which was set amongst a colourful cottage garden. This was the perfect setting to work our way through their extensive tasting menu, accompanied by a delicious cheese platter (the Paris Creek Nuage Blanc and smoked almonds were divine!).  By this time, our crew was becoming well-acquainted and a fair bit of friendly banter was being thrown around. Poor Danny had some trouble convincing us to move on to our next location as we had settled in for a good session!

Serafino Wines was our lunch stop. We ordered lunch from their amazing Spring menu then found our way to their cellar door. Serafino produces a number of Italian varieties that I had not previously tasted so it was a great opportunity to try some new wines. Lunch was fantastic – I ordered the eye fillet, paired with a wine recommended by the waiter (forgive me for not remembering what it was…!).

Danny must have decided that we needed a break from the wines after lunch – he had heard us raving about the cheeses we tried at Fox Creek and surprised us with a trip to McLaren Vale’s local supermarket which has its very own cheese bar!  He also took us to visit the Menz Fruchocs shop which completed the trifecta of my favourite food indulgences (wine, cheese and chocolate).  The chocolate honeycomb and chocolate coated snakes made great souvenirs (and snacks for the ride home).

Our final stop was Paxton Wines at Landcross farm. Here, we enjoyed tasting their biodynamically-produced wines on the verandah of their cellar door while drinking in the stunning scenery. It was the perfect end to a fabulous day. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone who wants to explore the scenery and fresh produce of the McLaren Vale wine region. Danny was very accommodating and open to requests from guests – the kind of flexibility you wouldn’t get from larger tours.