How do you choose which winery to visit?
Margaret River boasts 200 wineries, Barossa and McLaren Vale have dozens, Coonawarra has 25 along a short stretch of road. We can manage 5 wineries in a day, fewer if we’re visiting on passing. So, how do we choose?
In Margaret River, we went to Stella Bella, because my mum’s name is Stella. It turned out to be a lovely boutique winery with an interesting Semillon Sauvignon Blanc called Suckfizzle. We also went on recommendations, chose wineries that fitted into a convenient route that took in scenic drives and even the odd cave (see previous post). As I’ve mentioned, cellar managers are very generous about recommending other wineries.
When we were passing through McLaren Vale, we stopped at the information centre, picked up a winery map and spotted our first port of call immediately – Fox Creek wines. That’s because, a few months ago, we went to a live Bid for Wine for wine auction in London. It was a lavish affair with champagne, delicious canapés and a chance to taste some of the wines on offer. We bought a case of Fox and Hounds 2003 and have been enjoying drinking it since. So, Fox Creek was a must.
|Tasting the Fox Creek Wines|
It turned out to be a typical boutique winery, where we had a lovely long chat with cellar manager Amelia, who gave us advice about scenic routes that took us to some recommended wineries. She also advised us to stop by the Blue Lake as we passed Mount Gambier on the way to the Great Ocean Road.
And she gave us a taste of their reserve 2010 cabernet sauvignon ($40), which won the South Australian wine of the year. And deservedly so, it was delicious. She took a photo of the two of us (many cellar managers did this) and recommended our next winery, Olivers, because they were mentioned in an article about the 20 wines that defined Australia. Their Shiraz was described in said article as ‘a big generous shiraz’. I know because their cellar manager showed me the article and said they were extremely pleased about it.
We were also advised to take the route through Coonawarra on our way to Beachport (our stop before the Great Ocean Road). Which we did. And visited two wineries in passing, by sticking a pin in the map! I have to admit that, without delving into my notes (which could be anywhere) I can't for the life of me remember what they were called.
Perhaps it's time for that beer.
|The Blue Lake at Mt Gambier - it's in a volcano and it really is blue!|