A day in McLaren Vale

It feels long since we were in Australia – a whole three weeks have passed since we landed in Stockholm, and judging by the weather, I think I need anoter vacation soon. Snow is falling so fast that even the Swedes and Finns cant handle it. I am sitting at the airport, waiting for a flight that may never take off. You would think here in the Nordics we would be better prepared, but apparrently not. But turning my gaze back to our trip to Australia, there are a few more topics I would like to cover in the coming weeks, one of them is off course about our day in the wine country. McLaren Vale is about an hours drive from Adelaide.
The McLaren Vale wine region is well known for its dry red wines, especially those made from Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre. The climate is Mediterranean – four seasons with dry, warm summers and rainy winters. The region is also close to the sea, which guarantees around the year moiture. The Vale has many different soil types that contribute to the wines from the area having different terroir. Here are a few suggestions if you decide to visit:

Something Powerful – d’Arenberg

This is one of those must visits – everyone who goes to McLaren Vale visits the d’Arenberg Cube because it is so wacky. The younger members of the Osborn family decided to renew the look of their parents vineyard, and built a giant black and white cube in the middle of the vineyard. Inside there is the cellar door, a restaurant and an art gallery. And if you thought the cube is wacky, wait until you see the weird art gallery. You cant miss it…you are almost forced to walk through it.

D’Arenberg have a wide range of wines, which they themselves characterize as loud and aromatic without the obvious oak flavors. Many of their reds are made from Shiraz or Shiraz blends. They also grow some Mourvedre, Grenache and Mencia, yet the vintage wines are almost all from single vineyard Shiraz. Whites are from Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier. The d’Arenberg style is a bit too big for me, but I can respect that they stay true to their customer promise. All d’Arenberg estate owned and leased vineyards are NASAA Certified for organic and biodynamic processes.

Something Exclusive – K1 by Geoff Hardy

The Hardy family name is not stranger in the world of wine. Geoff Hardy, the founder of K1 is the decendant of Thomas Hardy, who is also known as the father of South Australian winemaking. K1 wines are considered to be some of Australia’s finest premium, single estate wines. At least if you talk about the well known brands..

Now we did not have the chance to try out the wines at K1, as they were closed when we were visiting. However, we were able to sneak in the gates to have a look at the amazingly beautiful vineyard and cellar door building that is standing over a clear lake (below you can see a picture). So this place is definitely worth the visit, just for the view.

Something Eccentric – Alpha Box & Dice

If you are into funky wines, this is the place to visit. Alpha Box and Dice is a “wine lab” developing different types of wines, to match all the letters of the Alphabet. The alphabet is just marketing, but they make wines, not typical for the region. The grapes come from different vineyards around South Australia.

The wines in the range are very different from eachother. I am not sure there is a specific harmonized style, but Alpha Box and Dice use an interesting mix of grapes, some that are better known in Italy or Portugal. We for example loved their Dolcetto, called the Dead Winemaker Society (for the letter D), and the Moltepulciano, Rebel Rebel (for letter R). I can also recommend the Touriga Nacional, Mistress (letter M).

The service at their cellar door is friendly and very relaxed. Its like drinking awesome wines with your surfing buddies, so if you dont like uptight, this is the place to go.

Just writing these reviews makes me want to go back to Adelaide. McLaren Vale was perhaps not my favorite of all the surrounding wine regions, but it sure was pretty.

xx Soile

PS. Not many pictures this time. I was busy tasting wines.

K1 cellar door
d’Arenberg cube



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