…Because wine is about sharing, right? By no means an exhaustive list, we offer our current faves for what to drink and where to visit locally, now.
The story behind Bondar is in our eyes the perfect fairytale. Created by husband and wife team Andre Bondar and Selina Kelly, the couple abandoned city life in favour of the vines in McLaren Vale, with the concept of creating ‘lighter, brighter, more savoury’ wines – and they have. Their Grenache and Junto GSMs are absolute rippers, if you are lucky enough to get your hands on them.
With everything sold out, we’re waiting in thirsty anticipation for the next release.
Insider tip 1: Sign up to their mailing list to be the first to know about new releases!
The eclectic dark horse of McLaren Vale. Known for their Montepulciano, Rebel Rebel, and more recently, their delicious Barbera, E for Enigma, (both of which are currently sold out, but the new Monte should be out soon), the ethos behind the funky Alpha Box & Dice is the experimental exploration of the alphabet – a unique wine (in both taste and process) to represent every letter from A to Z. It’s enchanting.
Anyone with an appreciation for language and/or Art will marvel over the effort that goes into every label, and every story.
Visit the cellar door to find a quirky mix of old furniture and legendary young staff, featuring gutsy Italian varietals wines hidden under the guise playful names.
For white drinkers, get around the wonderfully light Wightmare Chardonnay (unoaked, obvs), and for the brave, The Golden Mullet Fury Semillon/Vioigner.
Insider Tip 2: Stock up on the new release 2014 Nebbiolo, F for Fog – and anything you might fall for at the time, as their wines regularly sell out. They also have an excellent wine delivery membership (aka Life Improvement Program) that won’t break the bank but will keep your whistle wet.
The closest thing to a Co-Op you’re going to find on the fringe of Adelaide, the Summertown Aristologist is a community-fuelled cellar door featuring food and wine with an emphasis on small winemakers and local produce.
Open Friday to Sunday with a seasonal menu for the everyday created by chefs hailing from Adelaide city hotspots, there’s no two days the same – just like in life. Nawwww.
Insider Tip 2: Follow their Instagram @the.summertown.aristologist and get to one of their special dinners or sporadic events!
It may seem biased that I have included the winery that I work for, but then again, why would I want to work anywhere that I didn’t rate…? Just sayin.
With a large Mediterranean influence, Steve grows wines to drink with the food we eat, avoiding the denser, Rhone styles that are typical of the McLaren Vale region in favour of varieties such as Tempranillo, Touriga, Barbera, and more recently, Montepulciano.
Things to get excited about:
- Carl Cox & Eric Powell’s Mobile Disco feat. Incognito – November 5.
- Grenache coming in hot
- The view from the deck, every time.
The winery officially launched their sparkling, The hunt for Mrs Oliver Fiano Methodé Traditionnelle 2016 at Madam Hanoi last Wednesday, aptly named in honour of their inspiring and doting family matriarch.
It’s feeling funky fresh at the family-owned McLaren Vale winery, now controlled by its sixth generation of Olivers, with Winemaker Corinna Wright and Cellar manager Brioni Oliver at the forefront, having recently organised a handful of events including women in wine events, and sporadic Porchetta parties at the vineyard. I’ll drink to that!
Insider tip 3: In keeping with the growing reinvigoration of the variety in the vale, the new release Grenache is an absolute gem. For a special occasion, the 2013 HJ Reserve Shiraz is smooth, viscous and glorious.
The Oldest family owned winery in McLaren Vale, these guys make old school big reds, but have ventured into Rosé in a nod to the times. Last year, their Grenache Rosé sold out in six weeks, so get your hands on it while it’s hot. Or really, just anything involving Grenache.
Insider tip 4: Wineries love visitors that love wine or want to learn more about it. But when it’s a big group on tour, you’re probably more interesting in soaking up the views (and getting that Insta shot) with a glass of wine and enjoying your friends, rather than running through a tasting, right? High chances are you won’t be able to hear the cellar door staff over the noise anyway.
So when you call to make a group booking as a part of your tour, why not let the winery know you’d love to come by for a glass of wine on the deck instead?
You will arguably get more wine (tastings are generally 15ml of wine per pour), be able to visit at a more pleasant time (many wineries only take group tastings between 10-12 to protect smaller groups from the ambush) and you can save the tasting for another time when there’s a couple of you, resulting in a better experience for all.