Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Into the (Clare) Valley

Leaving Adelaide and heading north, our route took us through the Clare Valley. It was a little cold and overcast, so we called into the historic pub in Auburn (as one does) and had very tasty meals and a glass of wine by the fire.

The Rising Sun, Auburn
Kangaroo madras with cumin rice and poppadom

Salt bush lamb bangers with garlic mash, roast tomato and gravy
St Bernard's Catholic Church
I had told Him Outdoors that there was a brewery (Clare Valley Brewing Company) in Auburn, and there had been the last time I visited. The location is still there, but it is no longer a brewery, hence the sad face.

I, however, managed to spot a liver bird outside a winery, so of course called in to discover that Claymore Wines are an official partner of the mighty Liverpool FC. Many of their wines are named after LFC references - Boot Room Shiraz; You'll Never Walk Alone Sauvignon Blanc; This is Anfield Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay. We sampled several wines and ordered a case to be delivered.

We also called in to the vineyards at Taylors and Mr Mick's, and soon the back of the truck was clinking with bottles.

Taylors Wines
Mr Mick Cellar Door
We stayed in a cute little cottage a mile or so outside the little village of Clare. Among its charms were the fresh breakfast provided (eggs and bacon and bread and jam) and the fact that it was right next to the Riesling Trail, which provided great access to wineries and walks/ runs.

The Riesling Trail
The next day we continued in a similar vein, heading to several wineries including Mad Bastard (we liked the name), Sevenhill (we liked the barrels and the cellar), Paulett's (we liked the food) and Jeanneret (we liked the beer).

Mad Bastard artwork (they have a thing about birdcages it seems)

Sevenhill was the first winery established in South Australia's Clare Valley. It was settled by the Society of Jesuits in 1851 to produce sacramental wine. While it still does so, it also has a great reputation for its table wines. 

We sampled the range and left with several from the very reasonably-priced Inigo and Saints range. The fortifieds are also exceptional, particularly the Liqueur Verdelho (rich and silky palate with flavours of candied orange peel followed by a toasty caramel and nutty lingering finish: marmalade, anyone?). Him Outdoors was rather taken with the cellaring situation, as you can imagine.

St Aloysius' Church, Sevenhill 
For lunch we went to Paulett Wines. Their Rieslings are internationally award-winning with crisp lemon, lime and mineral flavours, and the aged Polish Hill River Riesling (2009) is superb. They also have a beer called Last Minute ESB, brewed for them at the Clare Valley Brewing Company. That was pretty damn tasty too.

To make up for previous disappointment, we discovered that the Clare Valley Brewing Company is now displaying its beers for tasting at Jeanneret Wines. I sampled the wines while he sampled the beers. The smile returned to his face. 

We didn't actually go to Knappstein (because we have had their wine on many occasions already, and the only beer they produce is a lager), but the buildings were picturesque. 

Knappstein Enterprise Winery and Brewery

Another day; another morning jog along the Riesling Trail. I like the information markers, which point out all you could possibly need to know. 

One for the Super-in-Law
Heading north, we had a brief stop at Mintaro because I wanted to go to Reillys Wines (their Watervale Riesling is one of my favourite wines). Him Outdoors loved the little village and canvassed spots for a potential brewery.

Former petrol pumps (or bowsers, as they call them here)
Doesn't that just look inviting?
Potential do-up brewery?
Magpie & Stump Hotel
Onwards and inwards to this mighty land mass. The tale of traversing this country has always fascinated me, and Terowie is significant for its rail history. It is situated 220km north of Adelaide and was the point at which the broad gauge line from the South terminated. The narrow gauge line continued 20km further north at Peterborough, where lines met from Perth, Alice Springs, Broken Hill and Sydney. 

Terowie was a thriving trans-shipment point at the railway break-of-gauge from the 1880s for decades until the broad gauge line was extended to Peterborough in 1970. The railway line was closed and removed in the early 1990s, effectively signing the town's death warrant. 

You know you're in the middle of nowhere (Yunta, S.A., 320km from Adelaide), when this is the only building apart from the petrol station. Moving on...

Yunta, S.A.

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