DRINK: Where to go in Mclaren Vale - the wineries you HAVE to visit.
If you haven’t been to Adelaide, you’re missing out. Perhaps Australia’s most underrated city, the rolling hills of the scenic town blended with the beautiful beachscapes provide an unforgettable travel experience.
With so many places to visit and such little time on my first (but certainly not last) visit, I aligned my priorities with those of my travel partners, and we all decided that we had to do a full day at the infamous wineries – of course!
After much discussion, we decided on going to the Mclaren Vale Wineries rather than the Barossa, as they’re meant to be a little more quirky with a slightly younger demographic.
If you’ve got access to a car, definitely find someone willing to be designated driver and cruise around for the day. It’s much easier to not limit yourself to a schedule, so you can truly get the most out of your day and spend more time at the places you really enjoy. Below is the itinerary of wineries that we went to, and all up we spent around 7 hours in total in Mclaren Vale.
1. Battle of Bosworth (@bosworthwines)
Named after the infamous Battle of Bosworth in England in 1485, this single vineyard, organic winery truly lives up to its name for having divine wines. From the extremely friendly, generous staff to the authentic feel of the entire winery, it’s one that you cannot miss on your tour.
We sat outside under umbrellas on old cast iron chairs, soaking up the sun and tasting their beautiful array of wines. My personal favourites were their super ‘buttery’ Chardonnay, and their sparkling red wine. I’m not a fan of red normally, but their delicious sparkling red wine really did sing to my soul – so much so that I ended up purchasing a bottle!
Battle of Bosworth winery uses organic viticulture, which means their certified organic grapes are grown and processed without the use of chemicals, fertilisers or GMOs. Not only does the wine taste pure & balanced, but it also does have a unique smoothness about it that makes it even more delightful to consume.
The Cellar Door is an old converted chaff shed and stables from the 1850s, and when you step in you’re transported back in time. Located in the perfect position, it has elevated views over the vineyards and will satisfy anyone who is after a true winery experience.
2. Gem Tree @gemtreewines
As cliché as it may be, the Gemtree Winery in Mclaren Vale really is a hidden gem. Run by the Buttery family for over 30 years, this winery is known for its sustainable, generational and organic wines that are perfectly suited for any palette.
We sat out on the deck for our tasting, which provided unparalleled views of the Gemtree vineyards and had a very special communal feel as well. They have their own veggie patch, as well as a large lawn for families to enjoy and relax on. For a winery, they also produce surprisingly delicious coffee that we had a couple of cups of whilst we were there.
Perhaps the most appealing thing about Gemtree (besides their wine!) is their platters – designed to give you a taste of the local and regional produce, we indulged in both of them. All I can say is – WOW. We were blown away by how divine each cheese was, and the condiments & bread accompanying were so fresh and delicious. The price points are extremely reasonable at $29 and $39, and we shared 3 between 9 of us – with plenty to go round.
Make sure you visit Gemtree winery, and next time I’d go in the afternoon and spend more time eating cheese and drinking wine. It’d be the perfect spot to stop and watch the sunset over the vineyards.
3. Samuel’s Gorge @samuels_gorge
I’m going to put this out into the world – I’m just not a big red wine fan. As one of the friendly guys at Samuel’s Gorge explained to me, it can take people a while to transition from sweet whites (think Moscato) to heavy reds (like a Shiraz). Nevertheless, I always give everything a go and was pleasantly surprised by the reds at Samuel’s Gorge winery.
Established in 2003 in a farm shed from 1853, Samuel’s Gorge overlooks the Onkaparinga River National Park and has a very rugged feel about it. The Cellar Door itself is extremely rustic, with old monuments of time passed displayed in the warm, homey building.
We were lucky enough to visit Samuel’s Gorge on their Red's Release Day, and we tasted their 2015 Grenache, 2015 Mourvèdre, 2016 Tempranillo, and the 2015 Shiraz. They were all strong, hearty reds and the Grenache was easily my favourite. A little lighter than the others, it was described as lightly dancing across your palette, and that’s exactly what it did! We sat on hay bales and sipped our wine as we watched the sun flit across the National park, and I’ve never felt quite so satisfied with life itself than just in that moment.
Our last stop for the day couldn’t have been better suited to our group at Coriole. Situtated in an old ironstone barn built in 1860, you’re instantly transported to the feeling of belonging. The rolling hills before you and blossoming flowers that are spread throughout the property are any newbie’s dreams of what a winery should look and feel like.
Easily the most photogenic of all the wineries we visited, Coriole has a certain fairtytale-esque feeling around it, and I can imagine a lot of beautiful weddings would take place. While we didn’t get the chance to eat here, I had a sneaky look at some of the lucky people dining and the food looked spectacular – like art!
We all bough a different glass of wine after the tastings at Coriole, because they were all equally yummy and unique in their own ways! We watched as the sun set across the Coriole Vineyards and captured some of the most beautiful photos you’ve ever seen. All I can say, is do not miss Coriole on your list!