The one with South Australia: The Clare Valley

Onward from Adelaide! We drove about two hours north of the capital to the lovely Clare Valley, one of the oldest wine regions in Australia, best known for their Riesling grapes and wines:

When I first heard “Riesling”, I was skeptical – I’m not a sweet wine person and I had already conjured up images (tastes?) of your typical German Riesling, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Rieslings in this region of the world are far less sweet (actually not sweet at all) – and rather more like a Chardonnay/Sauv Blanc blend (IMO – I’m no sommelier).

We booked in at the Riesling Trail Cottages Bed and Breakfast, and it was so stinking cute! It was right on the Riesling Trail (which used to be an old railroad track, but now is just a lovely bike/walk trail through the vineyards in the Clare), and our cottage was so cozy and quaint. Although we arrived to much chillier weather than we had anticipated, we were undaunted and went to Sevenhill Cellars, an area settled by Jesuit Fathers and Brothers in the mid 1800s – the St Aloysius church there is breathtaking, as are the views from the vines:

St Aloysius church in Sevenhill Estate – Clare Valley (via Heritage Buildings of South Australia)

Sevenhill Vineyard in Clare Valley at sunset

Sevenhill Vineyard in Clare Valley at sunset

Sevenhill Vineyards in the Clare Valley

Sevenhill Vineyards in the Clare Valley

The wines werent our favorite, but the heritage and scenery at Sevenhills was not to be missed. There are still active Jesuit brothers living on the property, most of whom are deeply involved in the development of the brand.

The next morning dawned cold but sunny – something that had alluded us a lot since we had arrived in South Australia! Since that was our final full day in the Clare, we decided to make the most of it. First we rented bikes to see the Riesling Trail and soak up the sun and fall weather – the changing leaves and gorgeous colors reminded both Ashlie and I of crisp North Carolina fall days (except we didnt have any ACC football games to attend 😦 )

Ashlie and Keller taking in the scenery

Ashlie and Keller taking in the scenery

Me goofing off in the leaves

Me goofing off in the leaves

We stopped to get some breakfast and coffee, but funnily enough, the Little Red Grape cafe also had a cellar door! Coffee and Shiraz at 11AM? Sure!

Coffee and wine - breakfast of champions!

Coffee and wine – breakfast of champions!

We biked into the town of Clare and grabbed lunch at Mr Mick – great tapas (and an even better Cab Shiraz!)

Our littlest companion was ready to head back by this time, and frankly, so were we! After quick showers and naps, we made one more vineyard stop at Cardinham Wines. We had heard about this cellar door from a friend of Ashlie’s from Melbourne, who actually owned a wine shop and collaborated with Steve Smith, the winemaker at Cardinham. We arrived shortly before the cellar door was scheduled to close, but Scott welcomed us so warmly (and there was even a sweet dog for Keller to play with – bliss!) The wines from Cardinham were such a treat; both Ash and I purchased a bottle of the Stradbrooke Cabernet Sauvignon (you know it must have been a winner if a die hard white wino like myself splurged!) 🙂 But wines aside, Steve was the star of the visit – such a personality – it was a great spot to end our jaunt to the Clare Valley wine region.

Ashlie and Steve at the Cardinham Estate cellar door

Ashlie and Scott (“Scooter”) at the Cardinham Estate cellar door

So there you have our little trip to the Clare Valley wine region! There is one final leg to this big tour of South and Eastern (Sydney) Australia: the Barossa, so stay tuned. Until next time…

4 responses to “The one with South Australia: The Clare Valley

  1. I love your post !
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  2. Wino Wayne

    That’s Scott NOT Steve or by now reckon you can call him Scooter…

  3. Not sure where abouts in Aussie you are at now, but if you don’t get the chance to go to Brown Brother’s Vineyard, buy a bottle of their Riesling. It’s my favourite! 🙂 Everytime I go back to Auckland we buy a few bottles of it (about 14NZD) and bring it back here to Dubai haha 😀

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