I love walking, and I love eating good food. The more I eat, the more I need to walk, so I plan to walk all around the world, eating good food, at nice places. It's a worthwhile quest and I'd love you to follow at www.walkeatshare.wordpress.com
Published December 21st 2017
Start at Blessed Cheese
Wine tasting is always fun but I recently discovered something excitingly different in McLaren Vale; a Cheese and Wine Trail for $25 per person.
The Trail is arranged by Blessed Cheese Cafe on the main road at McLaren Vale and bookings are essential.
I booked in on a sunny summer day just recently, grabbed a willing family member and set off to start the trail. Friendly Becky, from Blessed Cheese, explained that the trail should take around four hours. She armed us with a hamper, a map and tasting notes and wished us well on our flavoursome adventure.
There are two trails to choose from, although you can mix and match wineries with cheese courses. Tasting notes suggest heading to either Doc Adams or Serafino Winery for the first course. We decided to save Serafino for next time (there will definitely be a next time) and headed for Doc Adams.
On arrival, we opened our hamper to find our 'starter' comprising Onkaparinga Creamery Brie, crackers, McLaren Vale almonds and dried fruit (local of course).
We chatted with Cassie at the cellar door and tasted a couple of excellent wines before settling at a table on the patio with a glass of sparkling wine each. Fragrant winey flavours of pear and melon went perfectly with our creamy cows milk brie.
We meandered through the garden, admired the quirky sculptures and arrived at the cellar door to receive our glass of Chardonnay. Once again the wine was a perfect accompaniment to our Jersey Milk Gouda Cheese. We also found smoked salmon and a fruit paste in our hamper to enjoy with our entree course. On reading our tasting notes, we were alerted to peach, pineapple and apricot flavours just waiting to harmonise with the cheese. And they certainly did.
Once again, I would have been quite contented sitting near the vines sipping and tasting but a furtive peek at the time indicated it we had to press on. I wasn't going to risk fronting up to a closed winery and a missed experience. Hugo Wines was around 12 kms from Fox Creek, so we set off to enjoy our main course there.
Hugo Wines Cellar Door is in an interesting, Spanish-style building, which overlooks hills, valleys and vines. My trail partner enjoyed a full tasting of Hugo wines while I listened and learned. Sadly, I was our driver and needed to restrict alcohol consumption. A glass of peppery-spicey Shiraz was served to match our main course comprising Alexandrina Cheddar, locally grown marinated olives and nuts.
I bought a few bottles of wine on recommendation and looked forward to delayed gratification on future occasions when I wasn't driving. It was time for dessert and almost time for wineries to close, so we set off to Battle of Bosworth Wines.
It was late afternoon by this stage and the outside temperature had risen considerably, so we intended enjoying our dessert inside an air-conditioned building in a comfy spot. On arrival, we found we had been beaten to the comfy spot by the winery dog, Oscar. Oscar was laying on his back, on a sofa, directly under the air-conditioner, snoring with contentment, so we sat at the bar to learn about our next glass of wine.
We learned the theory behind making dessert wines from late-picked grapes and the effect of Botrytis or 'noble rot'. Oscar was then woken by his human and asked to kindly vacate the couch so that we could enjoy our dessert near the air conditioner. He didn't look happy about the idea, but did comply. The 'Clarence' Sticky Semillon paired with La Vera Adel Blue cheese from the Adelaide Hills was a symphony of flavours and most certainly my favourite of the day. Our hamper also provided chocolate for the dessert course.
We had been tasting, learning, admiring, chatting and relaxing for five hours and reluctantly admitted that all good things must end and it was time to head home. Besides, Oscar wanted his sofa back.
I recommend four to five hours minimum to enjoy the trail as there's just so much to enjoy in addition to the wine and cheese. Most wineries have friendly, informative staff, many have art to admire and lots have dogs.