In Search of Premium Wines, Marcus & Rachel in McLaren Vale: Jan. 28-31

January 28 – Today is 45.7 degrees out and trust me it feels hotter if that is possible with that northerly breeze blowing steady…feels like you are standing in front of a clothes dryer while outside! Today was the perfect day to work on emails and logistics with Rob to start the ball a rolling. We also started to make some more calls to the small wineries that don’t have a cellar door to make appointments.

January 29 – Woke up early this morning for yet another scorching hot day. We packed up all our stuff to move into accommodation closer to the wineries. Now that Australia Day is behind us and all the kids are back at school, there is lots available for rental. Dropped Jasper off at daycare and off to taste some more vino.

First stop of the day was Dysons to try his well-acclaimed whites. Allan the winemaker/owner gave us a tasting in his hot cellar door. He is a very interesting and passionate winemaker and all his wines are biodynamic. The 2008 Viognier was just superb…especially refreshing on a hot summer day!  This wine jumped out at both Marcus and I and we knew right away that we wanted to get our hands on it. Allan said he would get back to us about what quantities he has available and the price…fingers crossed!

At lunchtime the afternoon had warmed up to 48 degrees…so the thermometer in town told us. We went to our new rental on the beach, lugged up all our bags and groceries into a STEAMY house. The air conditioner was not on and hadn’t been on for days. First priority was to crank up the A.C. and take off for a few more tastings.

Next on the agenda was Fox Hill Creek Winery, which is family owned and operated. We went through their portfolio, the whites were pretty good but the reds were outstanding! They make a cracker Shiraz, their reserve Shiraz particularly stood out for me and is selling for $70.00…and well worth it! Unfortunately for us they are already represented, so go and get your hands on a bottle of their red, you won’t be disappointed! They have recently been voted for best South Australian Wine.

Next on to a private tasting with Peter at Halifax winery…no relation to Halifax Canada but love the name either way! He is a grower, small producer and musician making all reds with the exception of a Rose. His 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon was a great wine, however we have already found a fantastic Cabernet and Halifax’s wines are a tad pricey. This is a classy winery and I’m sure we will see them in Canada soon.

We picked up Jasper, then some fresh oysters to enjoy in our nice cool air-conditioned apartment…or so we hoped. Arrived back to the rental to find it absolutely stifling hot after 4 hours. We were all just dripping in sweat…not to mention irritation! It had to have been well over 50 degrees in the bedrooms. So we immediately started to call around looking for anything with working air conditioner…luckily we found a place right on the beach and it had COLD A.C. pumping! So we packed up and moved again cracked open the oysters, poured a couple glasses of sparkling wine and tried to salvage what was left of the night!

January 30 – Supposed to be yet another 45 degrees day…this weather has beaten all the records and is a bit scary for all the grape growers and winemakers in the area. If you didn’t believe in Global warming, you sure would if you were here experiencing this heat! Went down for an early morning swim before it got too hot then spent the rest of the day indoors working on more logistics and emails to stay cool.

January 31 – Since today is Saturday we decided to play for half of the day and work for half of the day.  We went across the road to the beautiful Moana beach for some surfing and playing on the beach. We were lucky enough to see some dolphins surfing and catching fish right from the beach. Marcus and Jasper jumped on one board and I got onto mine and we all caught some waves together.  The water was perfect temperature and there was sandy bottom as far as the eye could see. South Australia has been known to have more Great White Sharks than other states and the constant helicopter patrolling overhead is a constant reminder!

In the afternoon we went off to taste some more wine. I think I will actually be wined out after all this tasting, if that is possible…not to mention that I will be in serious need of a dentist visit to scrape the red wine off my teeth! Dennis of McLaren Vale was the first stop. The winemaker/owner was the one to meet us in the cellar door but we sensed he was preoccupied and didn’t have much time to give, as this was his first day of vintage, processing Verdehlo. Our jaws were dropped when we heard this…vintage has come almost a month early due to the high temperatures. We purchased a bottle of his very good 2008 Sauvignon Blanc and left him to it.

Next winery was Oxenberry Winery. We went through their portfolio, the wines were fairly good but found out they are already represented in Canada. The 2007 Tempranillo Chardonnay blend was interesting, it was very fresh, light bodied and almost like a Rose.