Angove Family WinemakersThis bluestone cellar door harks back to Dr William Angove’s original 1886 cellar in its design and aspect, with views through floor-to-ceiling glass out across mature shiraz vines. Once you've taken your seat at the handcrafted wooden tasting bench, you can sample a sizeable range of trophy-winning, small-batch, organic and alternative varietal wines thanks to the venue’s high-tech system for serving by the glass. If the amount of choice proves overwhelming, you can always opt for the Angove Icons flight, featuring signature drops such as The Medhyk Old Vine Shiraz, Warboys Vineyard Grenache and Sellicks Foothill Shiraz. Cheese plates and sharing platters of locally made charcuterie and seafood are available at lunchtime, and make the ideal accompaniment to a serious rosé such as the Alternatus blend of grenache, tempranillo, graciano and carignan. There are plenty of wines carrying the Halliday Wine Companion top-value star on offer, and it does not take long sitting on the terrace in the afternoon sun to see why this is a popular spot for hosting private parties.
Angove Medhyk Shiraz
Perfect for: Couples who deserve some downtime among the vines, and who enjoy discovering wines made from lesser known grapes as well as the classics of the region. It is easy to cap off a visit to this photogenic cellar door (open 11am-4pm daily) with sundowners on the seafront 10 minutes’ drive away.
Must-try wine: 2014 The Medhyk Old Vine Shiraz, 97 points
Winemakers Tony Ingle and Paul Kernich say to expect blackberry and liquorice aromas, plus a palate abundant in dark fruits. James Halliday describes the wine as having ‘the power of a Rolls Royce’ with flavours of blackberries, poached plum and star anise framed by quality French oak.
Angove.com.au | 08 8323 6900 | 117 Chalkhill Rd, McLaren Vale
The General Wine Bar and KitchenThis welcoming watering hole in McLaren Flat brings together the expansive ranges of nearby wineries Mr Riggs Wine Company and Zonte’s Footstep into a singular tasting room and bistro serving dishes that change daily according to the ingredients available locally. With an open kitchen, leather banquette seating and a varied selection of museum wines offered by the glass, the bar is a favourite hangout for locals on Friday evenings, as well as for visitors making their way between the cellar doors that fringe Kangarilla Road. If you like surprising pairings, you might check out the autumn-themed wine flight with matched nibbles, or look out for combinations such as dry-aged rump steak and Mr Riggs Yacca Paddock Tempranillo. If you are craving more than two courses, there is a slightly more extravagant ‘feed me’ menu option including paired wines. The drinks list includes cocktails and craft beers for resetting the palate, plus some imported wines, while private events and cooking classes can also be arranged.
2015 Mr Riggs McLaren Vale Shiraz
Perfect for: Refuelling on regional specialties after cycling the Shiraz Trail, or for those who simply want to taste a cross-section of skilfully made classic and Mediterranean varietal wines in a laidback environment. Open 10am-5pm Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday/Sunday, and until late on Fridays, the bar is a fun first stop for interstate visitors arriving at the end of the work week.
Must-try wine: 2015 Mr. Riggs McLaren Vale Shiraz
Winemaker Ben Riggs says to expect flavours of dark red berries with hints of spice and earth seamlessly integrated with oak. James Halliday described the 2014 vintage as a ‘full-bodied shiraz with more of everything, and doing it well’.
Thegeneralwinebar.com.au | 08 8383 0667 | 55a Main Road, McLaren Flat
WOODSTOCK Wine & Coterie RestaurantWith its glass-fronted restaurant surrounded by century-old gum trees, and an on-site sanctuary for hopping marsupials, the WOODSTOCK estate offers a nature-immersive experience along with its luscious varietal wines and blends that get to the heart of what McLaren Vale does best. A new tasting room was opened to usher in the 45th year of the family-owned winery, where a $15 flight of wines is one way to root out your new favourite red. If you prefer your discoveries to be accompanied by Hay Valley lamb or locally caught seafood, the winery's Coterie Restaurant is open for lunch Wednesday to Sunday, and serves wood-fired pizzas on Friday nights.
Woodstock The Stocks Shiraz
Perfect for: Wine lovers who enjoy peaceful green spaces and animal spotting, and families with young children who can take advantage of additional activities and an onsite playground. Open 10am-5pm daily, with kangaroo feeding taking place each day at 11.30am. Also plays host to special events during McLaren Vale's Sea & Vines Festival, which takes place in June.
Must-try wine: 2015 ‘THE STOCKS’ Single Vineyard Shiraz
Winemaker Ben Glaetzer and vigneron Scott Collett say to expect intense fruit characters of mulberry jam with complexity care of fine French and American oak. James Halliday scored the 2014 vintage 97 points and described it as ‘shiraz of the utmost quality’ with a flavour profile of ‘juicy black fruits, liquorice and chocolate’.
Woodstockwine.com.au | 08 8383 0156 | 215 Douglas Gully Rd, McLaren Flat
d'ArenbergThe madcap cellar door and restaurant come art gallery that is the d’Arenberg Cube was immediately dubbed one of South Australia’s unmissable attractions when it opened at the end of 2017. The five-storey glass structure, which cost around 15 million to build and appears to hover above the mourvedre vines, includes a wine aroma inhalation room and 360-degree video installation that puts you (virtually) inside a fermenter, as well as multiple bars and private tasting rooms. On entry you are invited to download the free Alternate Realities Museum app to guide you through the venue’s eclectic collection of art, before heading up the mirrored staircase to the tribal feast-themed restaurant. A wacky degustation menu created by Michelin-trained chefs and a wine list with more than 550 options (including imported and museum wines) ensure the Cube Restaurant is a worthy counterpoint to d’Arry’s Verandah restaurant next door. Thanks to the cellar door’s unique design and adding to this peerless, puzzle-like experience, you're able to take in views of the valley from wherever you stand.
d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz
Perfect for: A mind-bending lunch with wine-curious friends, or an afternoon of art appreciation and self-improvement including a 90-minute varietal masterclass or blending workshop (with classes starting from $65pp). The venue is open from 10am-5pm daily, and lunch is available between Thursday to Sunday, so there is no reason to miss out on a d'Arenberg wine flight ($10-$30). If you are feeling especially flash, helicopter and biplane tours over the vineyard can be arranged.
Must-try wine: 2015 The Dead Arm Shiraz
Winemaker Chester Osborn says to expect a concentrated wine with a refined edge not commonly found in McLaren Vale shiraz. James Halliday described the previous vintage as 'ultra full-bodied and densely packed with the darkest black fruits'.
Darenberg.com.au | 08 8329 4888 | 58 Osborn Rd, McLaren Vale