Day 22 of the “Ultimate Australian Rail Holiday” Wednesday 8th June 2016
Well now we are completely off schedule. While others in our group are on their second day of Melbourne touring, we are still back in Adelaide, and about to be collected by my former workmate (oh – who am I kidding . . . he was my boss) for a day touring the vineyards of the McLaren Vale. Be warned if you are planning a trip to South Australia, they may have a small population, but they grow a ****load of grapes, and they all come from separate regions. This one is south of Adelaide, back down the Fleurieu Peninsula.
This time we don’t just drive past as we did on the previous two days on our way to and from our Kangaroo Island trip. Within a short time we are in the Visitor Information Centre at Onkaparinga. When I was a young bride (albeit a brief moment in history) that name was synonymous with fine wool blankets. No mention of that today as we sip our cappuccinos and pore over the maps of the 88 cellars in this area.
A well known brand wins our first choice, the Wirra Wirra Winery. I can tell you the first time I sipped its Church Block red. Bill and I had just moved from the outer suburbs, 40 klms (25 miles) from our brand new inner-city Sydney apartment. I had a “date” with my boss (not the one mentioned above). We sat at a waterside view table in Darling Harbour, Sydney. Perhaps there were fireworks. I think there were fireworks. There often are fireworks in Darling Harbour. Not just the Christian or Chinese New Year celebrations. it’s the kind of place that lets them off willy-nilly. Poof! There goes another $20,000. It got so frequent, that after a few years of living there, Bill and I would close the sliding doors just so we could hear the TV. . . but . . . I digress. Phil (God bless his soul, my now dear departed best-ever boss – apart from the living one already mentioned) ordered a bottle of Wirra Wirra Church Block, and when I took my first sip – it was like liquid gold sliding down my throat. Phil kindly ordered a second bottle, after which it was a miracle that I didn’t accidentally tell the taxi driver to take me to my previous home 🙂 That was in the mid 90s, and I have searched many a bottle since then, seeking that ever elusive first taste experience, to no avail. But! My efforts have single-handedly kept this vineyard in business ever since (. . . she says, hoping her readers understand subtle wit).
Luke is on board to give us the benefit of his knowledge, and he also lets me out the back to where all the barrels are stored. And, apropos of nothing to do with vintages, I luuuurv their timber fencing, made from storm fallen Red River Gums . . . I’ll include a couple of the twenty photos I took of the fence! The Esperanza Label you can see in one of the photos is their “Iberian inspired range“. Cellar door only, there are three in this range: Tempranillo, Monastrell and Touriga.
Next we are off to the delightful Sammi at S. C. Panell. These guys are getting ready for the Sea and Vines Festival run over the June long weekend. We try a sample of their 2015 Aromatico, a blend of Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris, which is their “Moscato for grown-ups”, according to Steven Pannell, who was named 2015 Australian Winemaker of the Year. Gewurztraminer is one of the first wines I ever drank, as, together with Hock and Blue Nun, it seemed to be offered on most menus in England when I lived there in the late 70s. Who knows what was in the latter two, but who could forget such a gorgeous word as gev-urz-tra-min-er. Is that the correct pronunciation??? And while I was reminiscing about unusual wine names, I also tried the Mourvèdre, Nebbiolo and Tempranillo at this winery.
Then on to John at Coriole Vineyards. How can you not want to buy wine from a guy who looks so abandonedly happy as this? He tells us that Coriole’s GM and founder, Mark Lloyd, loves Italian wines, especially those from the Fiano grape found in the Naples region. Another new variety to us is Picpoul (white) and Nero d’Avola (red). And I enjoy a crisp, refreshing Chenin Blanc such as Coriole’s with lunch.
Coriole also has tempting delicacies for sale, and I just know some of the regular followers will love the garden there!
I wonder whether any of the guys over at The Wine Wankers blog are reading this post, because by now it is obvious that I am simply a drinker and no wine expert, so I am probably not speaking in the correct language. Exactly which language that is after several visits to wineries is anybody’s guess . . . but my notes do include a big tick against GSM . . . which even I know is a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre. I believe these three grapes are well known in the McLaren Vale, so am not completely sure which at which winery I tasted it, but I think it was Coriole. Bill in the meantime is currently crazy for Shiraz (aka Syrah) and as just about every winery in this region grows it, you can be sure he tried every vintage on offer.
Time to head back to Adelaide, with a stop at Port Noarlunga for a late lunch. You can see from this sky why we were happy to stay inside and admire the view at a distance.
Running Total = 12,600 klm or 7,820 miles
Adelaide to McLaren Vale return = appx 100 klm or 60 mi
Total to Date = 12,700 klm or 7,880 miles
For Reference: We booked our tour through the Australian Holiday Centre.