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5 of The Best Wine Experiences in South Australia!

June 21, 2016

There’s no better accompaniment to South Australia’s thriving food culture than their wines!  With almost half of all Australia’s wine made in this part of the country, you’ll find more than 200 cellar doors on Adelaide’s doorstep – across McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Barossa and the Clare Valley.

This part of Australia has some of the best local produce – organic meats, delicious cheeses, seafood, fruit and vegetables, so it’s no wonder that high quality wines here are also some of the best, benefitting from a Mediterranean climate.  It’s also very easy to see why Adelaide’s absolutely amazing Tasting Australia festival  has been going strong for so many years, taking place every May.

If you’re foodie fascination normally determines your holidays, then there’s no better way to indulge. Team your Tasting Australia trip up with a journey through the wine valleys!  As you wind you way through the hills on an epic tasting tour, here’s the wineries that are definitely worth a visit and why.

Skillogalee – Clare Valley

Ahh Skillogalee – our favourite!  Dave, Diane and their daughter and head-chef Nicola will welcome you with open arms to this charming, friendly winery and restaurant.  Taking its name from the English explorer John Horrocks who only survived his expedition in the area by making thin, gruel like porridge known as ‘skilly’, the nearby creek took on the name and the winery was then named after it.

With world class wines crafted from the Clare Valley, Skillogalee produces 12 beautiful wines, available for tastings in their old stone cottage which has as much character as its owners!  With one of the highest vineyards in the valley, their Rieslings really are fantastic and are in fact listed in the Top Ten according to Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine.

Producing small batches with intense flavours and aromas, these wines are the perfect accompaniment to lunch in the restaurant, which sits in the shade of a big olive tree overlooking the scenic vineyard.  We’d recommend the Gewurztraminer with exotic aromatics of orange, quince and ginger spice and a dry finish – just delicious.  All of Nicola’s dishes come with a wine pairing recommendation too.  Two of the standout dishes on this menu include the lamb shank in red wine and the lemongrass and ginger duck leg curry – both absolutely amazing!

You can also rent out their nearby cottage and immerse yourself fully in the Skillogalee experience!

Bekkers – McLaren Vale

Bekkers wines are fine wines from McLaren Vale which concentrate on texture and flavour.  Charming couple Toby and his wife Emmanuelle have a wealth of knowledge between them from all over the world including Australia and Europe.  French-born Emmanuelle and viticulturist Toby with a philosophy of farming are unbelievably passionate about their wines which are sold in very small volumes.  Reserved mainly for their allocation list, you can find them stocked in high end restaurants and by independent wine merchants.

The stunning glass tasting room overlooking the vines is where the magic happen and is the perfect place to learn all there is to know about McLaren Vale – Toby’s knowledge of the region really is second to none.  With their truly special wines ‘from soil and soul’, their 2014 Bekkers McLaren Vale 100% Grenache is pretty special – ruby red, rich, silky and slightly sweet.  As well as their Syrah and Syrah Grenache, Emmanuelle’s French roots have allowed her to make a chardonnay for special occasions – the The 2013 Bekkers Premier Cru Chablis which is sourced in France, released in Australia and really is worth a trying!

Hahndorf Hill Winery – Adelaide Hills

Rated one of the Top 10 cellar doors in Australia, Hahndorf Hill Winery is so well known, it’s actually been inducted into the Tourism Hall of Fame.  Producing some beautiful new wave varieties including Gruner Veltliner, this native Austrian white grape has been particularly well received – Gruner is a zesty versatile wine with bracing acidity and a spicy kick, while you also find delicious Blaufrankisch, Gruner Veltliner, Zweigelt and St Laurent wines too.

As well as giving you the chance to try Gruner, Hahndorf Hill also offers the most amazing ChocoVino experience you’ll find anywhere!  For chocoholics and wine lovers everywhere, this indulgent experience sees boutique wines being matched with the world’s most exclusive chocolates like Chuao.  Based on the concept of terrior, you’ll learn how to appreciate the taste, flavour and notes of highly acclaimed chocolate, when paired with different wines.  This experience is also available for non wine-drinkers and is a brilliant and informative way to learn to appreciate both wine and chocolate to its maximum.  You’ll also be surprised at how little chocolate you actually need to satisfy a craving when you taste it properly!

Seppeltsfield – Barossa Valley

One stop off definitely worth making, is at Seppeltsfield Winery in the Barossa Valley.  With their impressive Centennial Cellar housing an unbroken lineage of Tawny, they stock every vintage from 1878 to the current day.  Their unique system for maturing single barrels has resulted in some outstanding ports including the exclusive 100 year old Para Tawny.  On your tour, you can actually taste this remarkable vintage, while also trying a Tawny from your own birth year for comparison!  There’s even VIP experiences available and birth year vintages being sold which make great gifts.

The Seppeltsfield estate includes 100 hectares  where Barossa’s traditional grape varieties – Shiraz and Grenache are grown.  In addition, the stunning glass fronted Fino restaurant is beautifully contemporary in contrast to the Centennial Cellar above it.  Fino is the perfect place to enjoy high quality produce from their à la carte menu along with an outstanding selection of wines.  Also home to The Jam Factory, Seppeltsfield’s craft and design store features a great collection of ceramics, glass, furniture and jewellery.

Langmeil Winery – Barossa

Langmeil Winery boasts what they believe to be the world’s oldest surviving shiraz vineyard – The Freedom 1843.  James Linder who is in charge of sales and marketing at Langmeil, is one of the most charming men we met while in the Barossa and runs this charming family business along with his brother Paul – the chief winemaker.  Creating a true ‘love story’ through their extensive experience of the Barossa, this six generation family winery will immerse you in their wine and their story… so much so, that you won’t want to leave!

Their Rieslings are a delight – be sure to try the 2016 Eden Valley Riesling picked from old tangled vines with a delicate, crisp flavour, while the Freedom 1843 2012 Shiraz really is something special, believed to have been created from those old vines planted right back in 1843.

The Freedom Cellar is also extraordinary.  Beautifully unique, this old cobbler’s shop has been lovingly restored and is the perfect place to sip on some equally extraordinary wines.  ($50 per person. Groups of up to 8 can be accommodated and bookings are essential.)



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