I am a freelance writer living and working in Adelaide. With an interests in art, photography and vintage caravans, I try to get out and about as often as I can.
Find me at www.flickr.com/photos/willow2004/
Published July 10th 2016
Recently, having worked the weekend, I ventured to McLaren Vale on a wet and windy Wednesday. First stop was at the McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Visitor Information Centre on the left as you enter the township.
The Visitor's Centre is great for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they have lovely clean facilities, always a must on a longish car trip!
Secondly, they usually have an art exhibition and currently they are showing the top works from the Fleurieu Food Wine Art prize. If you like, you can follow a trail where further works from the competition are displayed. The exhibition continues until the 29th July.
Thirdly, the very helpful attendants can provide you with information on who is open for lunch on a particular day of the week. This is important when you visit during the week because not all venues serve meals during the week. Fortunately most of the cellar doors are open for tasting, so no shortages there.
I started my week day sojourn at d'Arenburg's winery, a convenient 5 -10 minutes out of the township. I sampled whites, rose and some reds, finally settling on a gentle Pinot Noir, "The Feral Fox" and a fuller, more robust Shiraz "the love grass". While at this venue I took a closeup look at the sculpture that greets visitors near the gate. It is designed to depict the family and their working of the soil with their hands to produce the wine.
Following d'Arenburg's I moved on to SC Pannell for some further tasting where I became enamoured of an unusual variety "Aromatico" which has Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer blended. Expecting it to be too sweet for my palate, I found to my surprise, it was wonderful blend that was fruity but not sweet. I'm looking forward to serving it with a nice curry. It's easy to see why they are the current holders of the Jimmy Watson Trophy.
Two wine tastings are enough before lunch, so it was time to head to one of the venue's recommended by the helpful information centre. I finally settled on the Vasarelli Cellar Door Restaurant, right in the main street, where they will make you a vegan pasta with fresh market vegetables. The dish arrived hot and delicious, topped with finally grated vegan cheese and superbly accompanied by a glass of their own Rose.