The wineries of the McLaren Vale wine region are an easy one hour drive from Adelaide. McLaren Vale is best known for its Shiraz but it is worth exploring some of the lesser-known reds varietals and blends grown and produced locally including Grenache, Sangiovese and Tempranillo. White wines aren't overlooked in McLaren Vale with Riesling, Chardonnay and Viognier grapes also grown in the area and the wines produced available for tasting at the many cellar doors that dot the countryside.
Below are some recommendations to help you get the most out of a visit to McLaren Vale.
The first stop on a trip to McLaren Vale should be the McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Visitor Information Centre. Located on the main road into the township of McLaren Vale this well appointed tourist information hub has everything you'll need to make the most of your time in the area.
The staff will provide a detailed map of the region and answer any questions that you might have. There is a café where you can sit and plan your itinerary and there is a small gallery showing sculpture and paintings that are available for sale.
There is even a cellar door set up right there in the centre so you can start your wine tasting straight away.
Traveling to a wine region and tasting wines is about discovering new wineries, blends and varietals but it is also about finding a bargain to brag about when you get home.
Pirramimma make a great selection of quaffing wines sold by the case. All of these reasonably priced wines are available for tasting so you know that your inexpensive tipple will impress when you open a bottle for friends at home.
These wines start at only $80 a dozen and are labelled bottles, not clean skins.
Samuel's Gorge is situated at the northern edge of the McLaren Vale wine region overlooking Onkaparinga River National Park. The cellar door is a rustic stone structure with displays of dusty old farming tools as decoration. As a small producer they have limited stock and can sell out of a vintage before the next year's is available for sale. If you find something that really tickles your fancy I suggest that you pop your name on the emailing list and get in quick.
Samuel's Gorge produce some of the lessen known varietals including Grenache, Tempranillo and Mourvedre making this a perfect stop if you want to try something unique in a beautiful setting.
d'Arenberg winery was founded in 1912 and has remained a family business for all of its 101 years. The cellar door is in the old family homestead overlooking the vine covered hills of McLaren Vale all the way to the ocean.
d'Arenberg produce a range of wines at every price point from quaffing red and white blends to bottles that need a few years in a cellar and a special occasion to justify popping the cork. Their staff are knowledgeable, friendly and generous with their tastings, encouraging customers to taste the more expensive vintages that they have open on the day.