In Search of Premium Wines, Marcus & Rachel in McLaren Vale: Feb. 1-3

February 1 – Another day of work and play so we headed down to the beach for some more surf and swimming then off to taste some more wine…we are waiting for wines that really JUMP out at us before we buy it so we will keep tasting until that happens.

First stop was Gemtree Vineyards and Dowie Doole. They are two separate wineries that share a cellar door. Both wineries are producing solid wines but they are already represented in Canada. Dowie Doole is available in B.C. Alberta and Ontario and Gemtree is available in Ontario. Great value for money wines, particularly the reds so keep your eye out for them in the Canadian market. Our son Jasper was at the tasting with us and they gave him a bunch of oils to smell to practice his wine sensory…never too early to start. He was obsessed with the truffle oil (like father like son) and kept pushing it into our noses to smell. The only problem that for the rest of the day every wine we smelled had an essence of truffle!

Next stop was Leconfield, where Leonard Cohen played the previous week-end. Again, fantastic reds…fantastic whites are harder things to come by here. The 2005 Shiraz from McLaren Vale and the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra were the winners for me. Being a larger winery it was not surprising to find out they were already available in Canada and the wines were fairly pricey.

February 2 – Received a call from Justin from Samuels Gorge wanting to catch up for an early lunch to discuss his wines further. We met at Salopian Inn restaurant, (which is attached to the Gemtree and Dowie Doole cellar door). The food was mind blowingly good, really couldn’t find any fault if I tried. It was the best food I have eaten since we arrived in Australia. The food culture in McLaren Vale really is spectacular…so much so that I have been going for early morning jogs to help keep off all the yummy food J. The food, wine and especially the company were fantastic…but we were most excited that we now have a Grenache to add to our portfolio! This wine is just spot on and we know that our top members are going to be very excited about this special wine. Justin is really unique winemaker making great wines. This wine got us both very excited and we know you will feel the same!

Stopped in to Paxton winery…we have seen several signs around and a few people have recommended we stop in to try their wines. It is a family owned and operated winery making some solid wines….I don’t’ know if we have just lucked out but we have been tasting one good wine after another! The wines are very well made, good value for money. They are already represented so will not work for us!

I must admit that I am starting to get a bit frustrated. Although we have tasted lots of good wine, we are looking for great wine. We don’t have too many days left so we really need to keep tasting to find the last couple wines to fill out our portfolio.

February 3 – Bumped into Allan from Dysons and he is very keen to sell us his Viognier, the price is right and he has the quantity available. This is GREAT news, as we have nailed yet another brilliant wine. Ok, today has started out pretty good so I am feeling optimistic! Of course it is yet another hot day…do you see a pattern forming here? However it is only high 30’s so really quite bearable in comparison. We are off to a bunch more small producers only open by appointment. I won’t bore you will all the details of the 4 wineries we visited because there are lots of details with not much to report. Met some very lovely people and tasted some okay wines but nothing that had the special something we are after…until…We went for a late lunch to talk through all the wines that were on the maybe list and we just didn’t feel comfortable buying a “maybe” wine. We were on our way to our car and we spotted a cellar door right on the main street and decided to stop in, expecting nothing. The winemaker and owner Matt who led us through the tasting greeted us. We started at the whites and were pleasantly surprised how good they are. The Rose was the best we had tried in the area. Then on to the reds, which progressively got better and better…and we got more excited as were worked our way through them. Finally we finished with the Linchpin Shiraz…and our jaws dropped and eyes widened and Marcus was speechless (which rarely happens). He actually said the wine gave him chills…so I dropped the big question with our fingers crossed to see if he was selling in Canada and I am happy to report that he is NOT so we quickly purchased his 2008 Rose and the 2007 Linchpin Shiraz. We cancelled the rest of our appointments for the day and breathed a sigh of relief…well I did anyway Marcus was never worried!

Marcus and I are very ecstatic (and relieved) that we have found 5 wines that I am confident are going to excite you. We are Icon members ourselves and can’t wait to get the wines into our cellar and fridge! Watch for more information and photos to come of our winery partners and the wines.

Only a couple days left here…I wish we could stay longer. The people are incredibly friendly, the wine is amazing, the food is tremendous and the beaches are spectacular. We have had a very busy couple of weeks but we have accomplished all and more than we set out to. We have a couple days to tie up the loose ends before we head to the Marlborough wine region on the South Island of New Zealand to look for some more iconic wines!