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Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend

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by E. McMahon (subscribe)
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So much wine, so much fun
I had the great fortune of attending the Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend, and it was a spectacular few days. Being just slightly further our than the Barossa, this region still has its country charm. There are less people milling around and, even during the festival, it is easy to find wonderful quiet places to visit and receive great service.

We stayed in the beautiful Brinkworth Country Lodge B&B with 7 friends. The accommodation was beautiful and comfortable, with enough bedrooms for each of us. The kitchen is well appointed with a pod coffee machine, and modern appliances. We all pitched in for food and wine, stocking the kitchen for the weekend ahead.

When tasting wine anywhere in South Australia, we always book Barossa Taxis. Kerry is a wonderful driver, who goes above and beyond to make your day wonderful. She is happy to pick up from Adelaide for a Barossa Tour or, as in this case, pick up from Clare for a Clare Valley Tour.

Our first stop was Mad Bastard. The front lawn was set up with comfortable camping chairs and tables ready for guests to relax. There was live music, a bar (of course) and freshly shucked oysters available to eat. We started with the 2014 Riesling, which is fresh and dry, with citrus notes but not too much acidity; perfect for a winter morning in Clare. We stayed in the sun relaxing at Mad Bastard for a couple of hours. We tasted their oysters, with Riesling as the dressing, and shared bottles of their beautiful Riesling before deciding it was time to head to lunch.

Lunch was booked in at Greg Cooley Wines, where Saskia Beer had designed a delicious menu. Again sitting in the sun, we shared bottles of the 2010 "Rehbein & Ryan" Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This Cab Suav is just gorgeous, complex and dark, with black fruit and a savoury finish. I would recommend that anyone visiting Clare should stop by Greg Cooley to taste his beautiful wines, and meet the charming man himself. For me, Lunch was a confit duck leg. It was amazing, the meat fell off the bone, and was succulent and delicious. Around the table, there was not one complaint as we all enjoyed the culinary stylings of Saskia Beer and shared bottles of delicious wine.

After lunch we visited Pikes Wines, one of the few that still offered free tastings at cellar door, as well as selling their hand crafted beer. Pikes was a party, there was a live band playing all the favourites from the 50's to now, and plenty of space to dance. We shared many of their wines, which were all delicious, and danced the afternoon away.

Late in the evening Kerry from Barossa Taxis returned us to the Lodge to cook pizza on the BBQ and continue the party. The Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend will definitely go down in my memory as one of the best on the calendar, we will definitely be back.
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Why? Great Food, Wine, and Atmosphere
When: May
Phone: (08) 8842 2131
Where: Clare Valley, South Australia
Cost: $100
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