Here at Vinesse, there’s a member of our tasting panel who absolutely loves the wines of McLaren Vale, a region south of Adelaide in South Australia.
Cereal crops dominated the landscape in the region’s early farming days, but then in 1838, Thomas Hardy planted grapevines, providing the first spark of life for today’s vibrant McLaren Vale wine region. None of those vines remain, but some McLaren Vale vines are more than a hundred years old and still producing.
There are close to 90 “cellar doors” — Aussie-speak for tasting rooms — in The Vale, so it would take a long time to sample all of the vinous wares of this special area. Our tasting panel member goes beyond the word “special” when describing McLaren Vale; she refers to it as “magical.”
So, with a Vinesse sampler devoted to wines from Australia — including two from McLaren Vale — being offered today, we asked our tasting panel member if she would open her wine diary and share her entry on McLaren Vale with us. She agreed, and here are excerpts…
“McLaren Vale is filled with strikingly vibrant, soft, rolling green hills, set right up against the deep blue turquoise of the bay. If ever there were a place where leprechauns lived, this would be it.
“If you look due west, you have a straight shot across the Indian Ocean, and can just imagine the tall sailing ships of yesteryear rounding the curve of the Cape of Good Horn, making their way to you with news from afar.
“The wines tend to be softer here, more approachable, easy to enjoy, with a dense, chewy texture that adds richness, but not severity. The wines do not have the structure of Australia’s Barossa Valley, but they are tremendously more enjoyable in their youth.
“I can see myself as a shepherd boy with a large straw hat, peasant shirt, cut-off pants — a la Mark Twain — barefoot and following my herds (goats, of course) meandering over those beautiful hills. You can’t imagine a green so green.
“I’d be listening to the light clanging of the bells (goats, of course), looking wistfully out to the turquoise blue sea, looking due west, watching all the ships come and go from far-off places around the world.
Just like, we might add, the wines of McLaren Vale.