"So which cellar door should we start with?" my husband asked as he looked up from the map of McLaren Vale. On the list were at least 70 wineries; and McLaren Vale is not even the largest wine region in the state of South Australia. Indeed, Adelaideans are spoilt for choice when it comes to wines. With roughly seven different wine regions, the state alone is responsible for more than half of the wines produced in Australia.
Of all the wine regions here, Barossa Valley is probably the largest and most well-known. However, size and fame is not the only testament of quality. Up and coming wine regions like McLaren Vale and the Adelaide hills have also been surreptitiously garnering their own accolades over the past decade. Top it off with their close proximity to the city, it is no wonder these regions have been drawing droves of wine connoisseurs of late.
Prized drops at McLaren Vale
Having lived in Adelaide for the last two years, McLaren Vale is a place we visit at least every other month. Being avid hikers, we enjoy the hike around Onkaparinga River National Park, complete with picturesque rolling hills. We usually finish our walk with a trip to the wineries, which are less than 10 minutes from the national park by car. It is one of the few wine regions where your winery experience is complemented by sea views.
With so many good wineries around McLaren Vale, it is difficult to decide on a favourite. However, one winery that we find ourselves making repeat visits to is Mitolo. Up until recently, Mitolo did not have a cellar door, and it was difficult to try their prized drops. Thankfully, the management decided to set up a cellar door inside the Producers of McLaren Vale, sparing us the agony of yearning for their wonderful shiraz and cabernet sauvignons. Dark and rich with hints of raisins and berries, they are full-bodied and incredibly smooth.
Another plus point to Mitolo is the host of activities available. Mr David Arbon, owner of Producers of McLaren Vale, conducts courses that takes you behind the scenes of winemaking. Try your hands at grape picking, making sparkling wines and blending your reds. They even conduct cheese-making courses, demystifying the intrigue behind those tasty morsels.