McClaren ValeNovember 25, 2017 in Australia ⋅ 59 °F
Today we have had a great day out with a lady called Jeanne, a local tour guide. She has taken us to places we would never have found and was great company. She had carefully planned the day to incorporate some gardens and art, plus wines that we could source in the UK. The McClaren Vale is north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, abutting southern Adelaide. It is renowned for red wines predominately, but we actually tasted some very palatable whites also. The wineries are mainly small and boutiquey and prepared to experiment with their blending. The countryside is simply beautiful, mixed agriculture, or grassed and rolling hills
Fox Creek was our first stop, where we sampled the full range. Again, the sparkling Shiraz was a star. It is something we have not come across before coming to South Australia and it is eminently drinkable. The Winery is set in a pretty English cottage garden and we are continually amazed at the English flowers that can be grown here. The roses are stupendous, despite the lack of water, but no problem with an open sunny aspect of course!
We had coffee and scones at a lovely garden cafe whose name escapes us. Minor birds serenaded us from the trees and the blue fairy wrens were everywhere. Lunch was taken at Gemtree. Another lovely Winery with a view to die for. The wines were pretty good too; organic and biodynamic, which means the work in the vineyard is organised according to the phases of the moon. This is of course a growing system as old as the hills and largely forgotten in these days of inorganic methods, but boy does it work. We finished the wine tastings at Coriole and had a really interesting encounter with a lady called Dorinda Hafner. Here we met an engaging and ebullient character. She is originally from Ghana and married to an English Psychiatrist. She is something of a television personality, has written twenty books, mainly cookery and raised her family here in Australia, although they were born in London. She proudly showed me a picture of her two grandsons (well you know Grandmas!). "Look at that"she said "white as a sheet - when I take them out I'm mistaken for the hired help!" I produced a photo of Rafe, explaining his lineage. "Well, at least he looks as if there is a touch of Africa in him". She was delightful and it was one of those meetings where you felt as if you had known one another for ever.
The day was drawing to a close and Jeanne drove us across to the coast and the famous Aldinga beach. It was warm, sunny and the sea true blue, dotted with surfers and a real sight to behold. Dinner was taken at The Victory close by, accompanied by a glass of Rockford's Black Sparkling Shiraz - the best yet. We drove back across the Hindmarsh Valley and to my delight there were Kangaroos everywhere. It was a superb day to complete our stay on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Thank you Jeanne!Read more