MissDissent (missdissent) wrote,

McLaren Vale: Cheese, Wine & Olive Oil

Here we are at our first stop on the Blessed Cheese Wine and Cheese Trail, the winery at Penny's Hill. We're drinking the Black Chook Shiraz Viognier and eating the Adel Blue. Incidentally, this is an excellent Blue for beginners (like myself) as it was somewhere between a cheddar and a blue in taste. As you can see, we are seated in the tin shed tasting room, and enjoying a half glass (rather than a taste) of wine and cheese, before venturing to the counter to try the rest of their range. This option is only available to cheese trail clients, so you feel pretty much like a VIP in the wineries you visit!

Now our next stop, Primo Estate, still involved cheese, but it was a deviation from our trail. However it was a winery we had to visit, mostly because they sell Joseph products, and we love Joseph Olive Oil. At Primo Estate the architecture is the first amazing part of the experience. The building was designed by a Sydney-based Michael Harvey (the wine maker's brother in law) and Bruce Watson, of Edwards Design. It stands out in the largely natural landscape with it's dramatic square shapes, grey and white stone and wood panelling (including the swish car parking bays). Inside you enter a serene courtyard with beautiful flat grey rocks, a woodfire pizza oven (in which they roast suckling pig on their celebration days) and a stylish sense of austere beauty.

But wait - there's more! Their tasting room is a contemporary room focused on visual (and gastronomic) pleasure. Think huge silver balls for lighting, groovy, transparent red stools, and black open wooden shelves upon which the products are displayed. And all this before you even have tasted anything!

So what's the wine like I hear you ask? Well this was the only winery that we went to that said they charged for tasting ($10/person) which is totally redeemable on your purchases. Since we knew at the outset that we'd like to buy some Joseph Olive Oil ($30.00/750ml) anyway, we decided the fee was no problem. And thank goodness we did, as they were the best wines we tasted all day!

The four wines they selected for us to try were amazing, and the lovely (and incredibly knowledgable) woman staffing their cellar door even pulled out something extra special for us to also try. Needless to say we purchased more than just olive oil here. The best wine we tried (and purchased) was the 2005 Joseph 'la magia' Botrytis Riesling Traminer ($25/375ml), by far the nicest dessert wine I have ever tried. The second wine I fell in love with (and purchased) was the 2006 Joseph 'd'Elena' Pinot Grigio ($25).

The tasting came with Italian Grano Padano, white bread, and of course, Joseph Olive Oil. This was an amazing way to cleanse your palate after each wine, and it worked very well with wines that are 'food wines'. In fact, this winery effectively did themselves what I was hoping to do by doing the Cheese and Wine Trail - it made wines I would find difficult without food, much more accessible. As a result, in this winery, I even tried and liked a cabernet for the first time ever.

Now after this point, I have to admit, everything else was a little bit of a let down - perhaps we peaked too early by finding Primo Estate, as it was just too good!

Penny's Hill
PO Box 584, McLaren Vale  SA  5171
Ph: (08) 8556 4460
Fax: (08) 8556 4462
Email: info@pennyshill.com.au
Cellar Door: Daily

Primo Estate
McMurtie Road, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Ph: (08) 8323 6800
Fax: (08) 8323 6888
Email: info@primoestate.com.au
Cellar Door: 11.00am to 4.00pm 7 Days
Tags: food, produce, travel, wine
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