Tim's Wine Tour Blog

McLaren Vale – our final day in South Australia

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Our final day of our South Australia tour took us south of Adelaide to the acclaimed Mclaren Vale. This area was South Australia’s first commercially planted wine region made famous by John Reynella and Thomas Hardy who both established famous wine brands.

It was a tough decision as to where to visit as the choice is extensive and the quality outstanding.

   So we decided to make our first stop at D’Arenberg – a famous winery now run by third generation Chester Osborn. So far, so straightforward. Well no actually. This was a step into the weird and complexly creative mind of Chester who has a created the Cube – an extraordinary four storey building that appears to float just above a vineyard of Mourvèdre. It is almost impossible to describe the journey that one’s senses go through as you walk around his realities museum. Bizarre, beautiful, creative, imaginative and just plain bonkers are themes raging through the mind all at the same time. 

The wine was almost irrelevant as we could have spent hours in the Cube. However, our host Judy was very engaging and took us into the old winery where we witnessed the lagares where they still press the grapes by foot for the top cuvees. There followed a tasting of seven wines culminating in the excellent Fruit Bat Shiraz 2012 which was excellent.

Mitolo was our destination for a long final lunch and just ten minutes from D’Arenberg. The Mitolo family settled in the area in the 1950’s from Abruzzo in Italy and established a very successful potato and market garden business. Their first vintage was in 1999 and they have gone from strength to strength in the meantime.

Gemma Mitolo hosted a fun, casual tasting where she showcased Vermentino, Sagrantino and a Sagrantino blend, Sangiovese, Malbec and the 2004 Serpico Cabernet Sauvignon which was delicious.

Then, the most extraordinary lunch unfolded over the next four hours. An Italian style feast where we enjoyed course after course: fava beans in oil, lamb pasta, Fiorentina steak, barramundi, fresh mozzarella, mortadella and a number of things that I can’t remember but you get the idea. We washed it down with an ocean of Vermentino and Malbec that we had tasted earlier and all agreed that this was a fabulous finish to the tour.