South Australia is home to some of the best wine regions in Australia, if you are only in town for a short while and can’t make it out to The Barossa, The Clare Valley or McLaren Vale, here is the low down on a day-trip of The Adelaide Hills wine region.
The Adelaide Hills have excellent wineries dotted throughout, if you are staying near or in the CBD, a drive will only take around 20 mins, before you are amongst the rolling hills and fields of vines. Also home to some of the freshest produce and excellent menus, many of the wineries cater for lunch and dinner. Before my recent visit I called ahead to book a table at Longview winery who are open for tastings all the time, but reserve Sunday’s for shared tapas meals. We began our self-devised wine tour day with a tasting of the Longview range and I must say there were very few varieties that I was not taken with, across both red and whites. My picks though are the Blue Cow Chardonnay and the Yakka Shiraz (both of which I brought home with me!).
The tapas lunch consisted of a shared starter of pea and herb felafel, crunchy fennel salad, sopressa and spicy cacciatore and garlic pizza. The delicious mains included crispy fried lamb, crab cakes, smoked mustard beef brisket and ribbon zucchini and herb salad. Shared between the four of us, it was just right. Finally the desserts included a cheese plate and selection of cookies and dates stuffed with chocolate dipped almonds. The venue itself looks out through large windows to the rolling hillside beyond. The cellar door assistant asked myself and my friend Irene if either of us will soon be planning a wedding, I tried to hint that she should be (ahem, Colin) as the winery also accommodates over 30 people in the homestead and apartments, Longview is often hired out for private functions and weddings. (Hint: Colin, it’s not half bad!)
We made our way to Shaw and Smith and Nepenthe next, where we had a few more tastings. I was surprised that neither had any wines that I was really into, particularly as some of the previous vintages from Shaw and Smith I have loved. Seasons change, and although both are excellent venues, whom I recommend visiting for the views and property alone, personally I didn’t choose anything to take home from either.
I had been reading and hearing about Bird In Hand for a couple of years, but had never made it out to their vineyard before. I think they quickly became one of my favourites with stunning grounds, but more importantly excellent wines. Located in Woodside, Bird In Hand are often involved in Cultural happenings in Adelaide, onsite (with concerts/ exhibitions) and interstate. Again here I really liked a lot of the wines I tasted, some were sweeter than my tastes- as it goes, but overall I left hugely impressed. I liked both the Bird In Hand and the Two In The Bush shiraz’s, the Riesling and Chardonnay.
I walked away with a bottle of the D&B Pour les Amour Rose, developed with Dan Single and Bambi Northwood-Blythe for their wedding earlier this year. The bottle, custom-made and imported from France features a glass stopper to be reused, the wine is crisp with cherry, watermelon and strawberry. Bird In Hand offer a set-shared menu as well which looks excellent, so I will have to book in here for next time.
Finally we finished our day with a cup of tea and treat from Cocolat in Hahndorf at The Haus. Not a bad spot for a late afternoon tea, there are plenty of excellent spots along the main street, but most close at 5pm so be sure to allow enough time. We often stop in at Chocolate @ No. 5, for a cup of tea and Belgian chocolates.
Not to be missed if you are a lover of both fine wine and chocolate is the ChocoVino experience at Hahndorf Hill Winery, we did this back in April on my last visit. Patrons are taken through a tasting of both crisp wines and the highest quality chocolates, it is a very unique experience.
There are a lot of excellent wineries in the region to try, I find this website helpful to choose where to go and mark out a route to drive.