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Ask Krystle about South Australia » Blogs » McLaren Vale wine region

  • McLaren Vale wine region

    Posted by Krystle Aunger June 20, 2014 - 295 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #food  #wine  #south australia  #vineyard  #cellar door  #McLaren Vale  #Hills  #Panorama 

    McLaren Vale is an internationally renowned wine region about 45minutes south of Adelaide in South Australia. Noted for producing shiraz there are over 88 cellar doors in this small region with vines planted in 1838 still fruiting grapes to this day! I went for a drive to explore the McLaren Vale wine region on a rather wet and gloomy day, but was soon warmed by the good-hearted people pouring really good wine.


    Since I hadn’t been to McLaren Vale before the first stop for me was at the Visitor’s Center. The Visitor’s Center couldn’t be more convenient as it’s the first thing you pass as you pull off the highway into McLaren Vale. The extremely helpful staff is more than willing to give direction and advice. I’d recommend taking a copy of the giant region map, which highlights cellar doors and attractions, so you can plan your trip effectively. Before starting wine tasting I stopped for a breakfast/ planning session at Carriage Café (a literal café in a 1908 train carriage) in McLaren Vale’s main street. Main Street is filled with cafes, galleries, gift shops and even some cellar doors. It makes a great first stop on a tour of the region, and is great to keep in mind for lunchtime!


    Carriage Café in Main Street


    Cellar doors in the McLaren Vale region are very close together. There’s probably only about a 3-5 minute drive between them. This makes getting around very convenient by car. Though, if you prefer, there are tour companies that will privately bus your group around the region. Though the drive is short, views of panoramic rolling hills clad with vines are plentiful.


    Panoramic views around McLaren Vale


    Tasting at cellar doors is free and there is no obligation to purchase wine after a tasting. Though, if you do purchase it is usually at a discounted rate. A tasting menu will take you through sweet to dry white wine, sweet to dry red wine, and then if available sticky and fortified wine. Some menus are lengthy so you could have about 15 tastes from one cellar door. Your pourer will guide you through the menu, and you’re free to pick and choose wines to taste at your leisure too.


    Wine tasting at d'Arenberg cellar door


    Remember, every four wines you taste equals one standard drink. It’s really easy to get drunk fast and not realise it. Take advantage of the spittoons and ditch the tastes you’re not so keen on so you can save your limit for the ones you love! If possible, and probably even better, nominate a designated driver in your group to chauffeur you about, or hire a private bus.


    A majority of wineries in the region have a restaurant attached to their cellar door. Lunch at a winery is a fantastic way to taste delicious food that uses local and seasonal produce. One pourer I was talking with was telling me about a cheese and wine trail that she described as a ‘progressive picnic.’ The finest artisan cheese matched with fine wines from the regions best wineries. That sounds like something I should return to McLaren Vale for!


    Coriole cellar door and restaurant 


    Chapel Hill cellar door and restaurant