With the weather not quite being up to standard of what we would call summer time until the last few days (the weather is now amazing and I type this with my kitchen doors wide open), I catch myself thinking more and more of my trip to Adelaide, Australia, last December/January.
I had never been over that side of the world so being given the opportunity to pop over for 2 weeks sounded like a wonderful idea! To be honest I only found out 5 weeks before so had all of the excitement squashed into the busiest period at work. Most of all Adelaide is close to some of the most exciting wine regions in South Australia; and me being me, tied in a few business visits into my holiday. And I say business is the loosest possible sense in this instance.
Landing late on Christmas Eve so not much could be done before a huge family Christmas and meeting the ‘in-laws’ for the 1st time with the entire family in tow! But Boxing day was filled with a wonderful drive down to the beach house stopping at a few vineyards along the way. A particular favourite was Woodstock Wine Estate in McLaren Vale; one which we had to revisit to buy some of their wine later on that week. The setting was perfect and the weather even better; while sitting chatting with a young lady about the wines, the vineyard, the history and, of course, doing a tasting of some of her favourite wines, she mentioned it was nearly time to feed the kangaroos. That’s right, 2nd day in Aus and I got the chance to feed the Roos! http://www.woodstockwine.com.au/
‘Twiggy’ Blanc de Blanc 2014 – The name Twiggy coming from the evergreen shrub that can be seen all around the vineyard with small, bright white flowers. Delightfully fresh and crisp 100% Chardonnay sparkling wine using the Charmat Method (same method as Prosecco). Loads of apple and citrus flavours with a roundness coming from the lees contact. Super easy sparkling wine to drink alone, especially in the heat of the summer by goes very well with Tasmanian Oysters!
Woodstock ‘Pilot’s View’ Shriaz 2013 – The late vineyard owner, Douglas Collett A.M flew Spitfires in WWII and therefore was lucky enough to have a pilot’s eye-view of all the vineyards of Europe. Upon his return home he saw a massive future for the Australian table wine industry, moving away from fortified styles. This is the vineyard’s and family’s homage to the great Douglas, packed full of raspberries and red cherry flavours and a good amount of peppery spice; this wine is a perfect example of fruit and oak working side by side to create a luscious and smooth wine. Even though it is drinking superbly right now I would give it a few more years in the cellar to really reach its potential.
On the way to a small music festival at Coriole Vineyards we made a few pit stops at a couple of vineyards along the way, because well why not. The one real standout for the day was in this old shed just off the main road and it didn’t look like much from the outside, simple signage, the shed and a few small tables outside. When you enter it takes a while for your eyes to adjust from the harsh sunshine and the cooler shade (which was a relief ) where you find yourself in a room filled to the brim with antiques such as old jukeboxes, arcade games and even the odd taxidermy animal. Alpha Box & Dice is where it is at in terms of fun, young and cutting edge (but not in a high tech sense); where they are creating an alphabet of wine, with a new blend for each letter made from all sorts of grape variety many we know and love and loads of new ones. Every wine is made holistically and true to the vintage and ‘terroir’; made essentially through a series of experiments. Not only did the wines stand out for me but also the staff in the tasting room, all super knowledgeable and extremely enthusiastic about all the wines. They also have a simple food menu mainly made up of local cheeses with all the trimmings and I think it a perfect setting to stop and enjoy an afternoon tipple. https://www.alphaboxdice.com/
Golden Mullet Fury, Semillon/Arnies/Viognier 2013 – A fantastic skin contact orange wine. Orange wines are all the craze at the moment but they have been around for a very long time, not unlike the mullet but I don’t think that’ll ever be back in fashion! An interesting blend of grapes, not one I have come across before, makes a full on wine of wonderful dried orange, candid lemon and a fantastic heady perfume. Full of Christmas spices and a rich, luscious texture in the mouth. I would say this is a definite Marmite wine (well I guess a Vegemite wine seen as they are in Aus!) but one that stood out for me.
These are just a few of the AMAZING vineyards in the area. And we didn’t even touch on my visits to Penfolds (which was amazing!), the incredible Ministry of Clouds (full post on them to come) or even Yalumba! I have already booked tickets to go back in December again and cannot wait to try out a few new ones. If any of you know of some fab vineyards in and around Adelaide even in the Hunter Valley (being taken there for a few days, bliss) please do let us know....
But for now I am going to enjoy the small amount of sunshine we have here.
Lots of Love,
Good food is very often, even most often, simple food. - Anthony Bourdain