On 25 February 2011, the first ever state cellar door festival was launched in Adelaide. Over 100 wineries attended, each presenting their best wares. It stretched over three days – Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and the perfectly chosen venue was the Adelaide Convention Centre near the railway station in the centre of Adelaide.
The general feel of the wineries and the attendees was that it was a roaring success with over 3,000 tickets sold for this inaugural event, and people were truly interested in the wines and the wineries, not just coming along to see how inebriated they could get – a criticism of some wine events! There was an overwhelmingly friendly and relaxed atmosphere and at every wine stand I went to I was welcomed warmly and shown the wines with enthusiasm and without pressure. I shall certainly attend in 2012 if they organise this again and would encourage wineries to participate and wine lovers to come along and enjoy it.
The $20 ticket included an elegant Riedel glass (RRP $20) which was perfect for the tasting and it entitled you to unlimited tastings. It also included a $5 token to buy a glass of wine – although some wines cost $10 for a glass, as was the one I chose – an Amadio sagrantino – see below. There were also a number of master classes at an extra cost.
I attended for the whole day on the Sunday (7.5 hours!) and did not run out of people to talk to and wines to taste, arriving at 10.30am and leaving as it was closing at 6pm. I barely scratched the surface, visiting a fraction of the stands, although I did my best for the sake of my readers!
The venue was ideal, with plenty of space and a very clear layout. Wineries were organised by key South Australian regions and there were also a few micro-breweries represented. (Full list at the end of this article.)
In addition, the premier sponsor of the event, A+ Australian Wine – Wine Australia, had a large stand with varietals – they were presenting a bottle from each of (most of) the wineries, giving an excellent overview of the whole event. The two clear standouts for me at this stand were Knappstein’s Clare Valley (Watervale) hand-picked 2010 riesling – which had great length, honey characters, strongly varietal and rounded fruit; and a Barossa wine that surprised me – Amadio winery’s 2009 sagrantino – an interesting Italian red variety that gave me tomato leaf, rhubarb and cherry. A pleasing amount of fruit sweetness balanced with modest oak, it was a medium-bodied red wine with a long finish. Fabulous – this is the kind of experience that makes these events memorable.
Looking at the regional stands, the first region I came to was Fleurieu/McLaren Vale. Although I am familiar with most of the wineries there, it is always good to refresh your memory and try their latest releases. I stopped by Serafino, Chapel Hill, Penny’s Hill, d’Arenberg, Dog Ridge, Hugh Hamilton and Vinteloper. There were so many to try that I mainly noted the standouts – purely subjective of course:
Penny’s Hill 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – lovely fruit, great varietal characters, only $24.
Vinteloper’s ‘Adelo’ (meaning obscure) – a 2010 blend of touriga, shiraz and pinot noir – an obscure blend – but it worked for me!
My pick of Coonawarra was the Raidis Estate winery – I loved all of the wines I tried – the riesling, pinot gris and the cabernet sauvignon, all giving generous yet elegant fruit and all notably varietal. Typifying Coonawarra the cabernet had a gentle hint of eucalypt. The labels were memorable by the goats, signifying the goats that they have at the vineyards eating the grasses and cover crops.
I visited the St Mary’s Wines stand, representing the Limestone Coast and was pleasantly surprised to find some aged reds, particularly a 2001 merlot and 2006 cabernet sauvignon, made in the European, elegant Bordeaux style. The cabernet was just beautiful.
From Langhorne Creek I had to stop by and see Anne and Mac of Cleggett winery – of white cabernet sauvignon fame – I visited their winery recently and wrote the whole story behind their white and bronze cabernet sauvignon grapes (see “White cabernet sauvignon – sampling a world first from South Australia“). They had brought along some bunches of the bronze and white grapes to show people, picked that very morning (pictured).
Adelaide Hills is an area I am very familiar with so I went to a winery I was not familiar with – Coobara, in Birdwood. Their labels have a range of birds on them, making them memorable and attractive. I very much enjoyed their low alcohol 2010 riesling (10.0%) which had a fruity, zingy nose and a slight sweetness on the palate with a clean finish. The pinot gris was also pleasing with a smokiness on the palate, rounded generous fruits and great length.
I also must mention the Paracombe Adelaide Hills 2007 Cabernet Franc – always a good wine.
From Clare Valley a new winery for me was the Good Catholic Girl Wines. The 2007 shiraz was rich and flavoursome. A definite standout.
Neagles Rock presented some lovely Clare Valley offering, with great fruit, especially the sangiovese, a lighter style of red wine.
I had to taste some of the Paulett’s riesling too – always exceptional and did not disappoint.
Last but not least for me after a long day of tasting was the Barossa – I headed to my friends at Barossa Valley Estate – these guys always produce a most excellent shiraz for all ranges in the price spectrum, up to the E&E Black Pepper Shiraz, current release 2006 – an icon of South Australia in my opinion.
I sincerely hope that this event is supported even more strongly in 2012 as it has the potential to be one of the best wine events of the year. The list of wineries who attended is provided below and I have added a few photos to give you a feel for the day.
For your reference, this is the list of wineries represented, plus a few SA micro breweries:
Amadio Wines www.amadiowines.com
Coobara Wines www.coobarawines.com.au
Golding Wines www.goldingwines.com.au
Hermitage Premium Wines www.hermitagewines.com.au
Howard Vineyard www.howardvineyard.com
K1 by Geoff Hardy www.k1.com.au
Kersbrook Hill Wines www.kersbrookhill.com.au
Nepenthe Wines www.nepenthe.com.au
One Planet Cellars www.oneplanetwine.com
Paracombe Wines www.paracombewines.com
Petaluma’s Bridgewater Mill www.petaluma.com.au
Protero Wines www.proterowines.com.au
The Lane Vineyard www.thelane.com.au
Tomich Wines www.tomichwines.com
Balthazar Barossa www.balthazarbarossa.com
Barossa Valley Estate www.bve.com.au
Craneford Wines www.cranefordwines.com
Domain Day www.domainday.com.au
God’s Hill Wines www.godshillwines.com
Gumpara Wines www.gumpara.blogspot.com
Hart of the Barossa www.hartofthebarossa.com.au
Hentley Farm Wines www.hentleyfarm.com.au
Jamabro Wines www.jamabro.com.au
Linfield Road Wines www.linfieldroadwines.com.au
Milhinch Seize the Day Wines www.seizetheday.net.au
Murray Street Vineyards www.murraystreet.com.au
Saltram Wine Estate www.saltramwines.com.au
Schild Estate Wines www.schildestate.com.au
Smallfry Wines www.smallfrywines.com.au
Soul Growers www.soulgrowers.com
St Hallett Wines www.sthallett.com.au
Tomfoolery Wines www.tomfoolerywines.com.au
Winter Creek www.wintercreekwine.com.au
Wolf Blass Wines www.wolfblass.com
Annie’s Lane www.annieslane.com.au
Good Catholic Girl Wines www.goodcatholicgirl.com.au
Jeanneret Wines www.jeanneretwines.com
Kilikanoon Wines www.kilikanoon.com.au
Knappstein Enterprise Winery & Brewery www.knappstein.com.au
Neagles Rock www.neaglesrock.com
O’Leary Walker Wines www.olearywalkerwines.com
Paulett Wines www.paulettwines.com.au
Reillys Wines www.reillyswines.com.au
Sevenhill Cellars www.sevenhill.com.au
Stephen John Wines www.stephenjohnwines.com
Taylors Wines www.taylorswines.com.au
Tim Adams Wines www.timadamswines.com.au
Tim Gramp Wines www.timgrampwines.com.au
FLEURIEU – McLAREN VALE
Battle of Bosworth Wines www.battleofbosworth.com.au
Cascabel Winery www.cascabelwinery.com.au
Chapel Hill www.chapelhillwine.com.au
Conte Estate Wines www.conteestatewines.com.au
Dowie Doole www.dowiedoole.com
Hardys Tintara www.hardys.com.au
Haselgrove Wines – Modern McLaren Vale www.haselgrove.com.au
Hugh Hamilton Wines www.hughhamiltonwines.com.au
J&J Wines www.jjwines.com.au
Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards www.kaybrothersamerywines.com
Leconfield – Home of Richard Hamilton Wines www.leconfieldwines.com
Oxenberry Wines www.oxenberrywines.com
Penny’s Hill & Mr Riggs Cellars www.pennyshill.com.au
Rosemount Estate www.rosemountestate.com.au
Serafino Wines www.serafinowines.com.au
Ulithorne Wines www.ulithorne.com.au
Vinteloper Wines www.vinteloper.com.au
Wirra Wirra Vineyards www.wirrawirra.com.au
Yangarra Estate Vineyard www.yangarra.com
Zimmermann Wine www.zimmermannwine.com
FLEURIEU – LANGHORNE CREEK
Cleggett Wines www.cleggettwines.com.au
Gipsie Jack Wines www.thewinehouse.com.au
Hearland Wines www.thewinehouse.com.au
John’s Blend by John Glaetzer www.thewinehouse.com.au
Kimbolton Wines www.thewinehouse.com.au
Lake Breeze Wines www.lakebreeze.com.au
Rusticana Wines www.rusticanawines.com.au
Step Rd www.steprd.com
FLEURIEU – SOUTHERN FLEURIEU
Mosquito Hill Wines www.mosquitohillwines.com.au
LIMESTONE COAST – COONAWARRA
Brand’s Laira Coonawarra www.mcwilliamswinesgroup.com
DiGiorgio Family Wines www.digiorgio.com.au
Flint’s of Coonawarra www.flintsofcoonawarra.com.au
Hollick Wines www.hollick.com
Leconfield Coonawarra www.leconfieldwines.com
Penley Estate www.penley.com.au
Raidis Estate www.raidis.com.au
Rymill Coonawarra www.rymill.com.au
Zema Estate – Coonawarra www.zema.com.au
LIMESTONE COAST – PENOLA
St Mary’s Wines www.stmaryswines.com