I thought you might enjoy a look at the South Australian countryside (and weather!) via a trip to the Clare Valley. It was a day trip, and to be honest, five hours in the car for a three and a half hour look at some wineries and some lunch was a bit much, but that was the time we had, so we took it.
The weather was predicted to be four seasons in a day, and it didn’t disappoint, but it also didn’t keep us from having a good time! Having grown up in Southern Ohio, we know what comprehensive weather can be like. Undaunted, and well armed with umbrellas and warm clothing, we embarked.
Our first stop was Skillogalee. When we first visited this cellar door, about 28 years ago it was the tiniest, most rustic place you can imagine. Now, they serve lunches and have a separate, cosy tasting room. We often enjoy their Riesling and Ports. Our daughter chose a port to take home.
Our next stop was Sevenhill Cellars, a Jesuit monastery, which started by making sacramental wine back in 1851. The last time we stopped here, there was no visitors area, just a tiny cellar door and you pretty much had to know what you wanted to buy. Now they have opened up the actual cellar with huge kegs, and have a lovely tasting room. It is heartening to see these wineries being successful after so many years of hard work.
We were fortunate for a break in the weather at Sevenhill, so I indulged in a quick burst of photography. Just as well, my efforts were severely dampened the rest of the trip.
When I posted about our trip to Coonawarra last year, I showed you a book called ‘Wine Dogs’, and one of the lovely subjects of that book. Sevenhill had a book called ‘Wine Cats’. Their resident wine cat, looked up at me obligingly from its fresh hay bed in a half barrel, but not happily (as cats do), to allow me a photo.
All the while it was raining and growing colder. By the time we finished our pub lunch at the Middle Pub in Clare (roast lunch was fine, not remarkable), the rain had stopped momentarily. Little did we know it was gathering forces.
Our first stop after lunch was Tim Adams winery. The tasting room was nice enough but overall the setting and character were not as remarkable as our other stops; however my husband loves their big reds and especially one called ‘The Fergus’. The name alone is fabulous, and that’s before we’ve had one or two. Suddenly the Scottish accents come out and all bets are off! My favourite, though, is one called ‘Aberfeldy’, and at $65 a bottle, no wonder!! Delicious.
At this stage the temps were about 5.5C (about 43F) and the rain suddenly turned to hail. We had decided to take a slight detour a few kilometres out of our way to visit a well known landmark, Martindale Hall. We had to pull off to the side of the road in case the hail became any larger and damaged our daughter’s new car. After about 10 minutes we moved along. Martindale Hall was used for the interior scenes in the movie Picnic at Hanging Rock. The exterior location shots were done at the actual Hanging Rock, located in Victoria. This is a well known, classic Australian movie, but possibly not that well known internationally. (For a brilliant 3 minute video and history of the Hall, go here.)
It’s worth mentioning this series of photos of hail, daughter in rain, and rainbow after were taken within a 15 minute time frame! I know this is not remarkable for most of you living in temperate climates, but for us desert dwellers it is memorable!
Our final stop was Pike’s Winery. Lovely white wines though they have reds as well; I especially liked a Chardonnay, and I usually am not fond of Chardonnays as they are too heavily ‘oaked’. But this one was very light.
But, I’m afraid I reverted to character, in the end; lingering over capturing the amazing colours of the autumn in Clare, instead of tasting the fruit of the vine. To sip or snap… that is a very serious question.