Day 2 in McLaren Vale started with a mucho necessary 10 mile run to the ocean, breakfast, and a little 10 am speed wine dating. We broke into pairs and met with one producer at a time to hear about what’s shaking in the world of McLaren Vale Shiraz.

Australian Shiraz is not my favorite of styles of wines as I find a lot of them are just too big on fruit that it’s tough to keep going back for more. The examples we tasted during this session proved slightly more balanced with the wines of Wirra Wirra and d’Arenberg clocking in as favorites.

McLaren Vale is a grape growers paradise for its warm climate, low rainfall, and cooling ocean breezes. Disease pressure is low due to these factors, making organic viticulture viable. All producers on hand this are part of an organization called Scarce Earth where the goal is one of sense of place instead of winemaking.

The d’Arenberg wines were just lovely. Laughing Magpie 2012 is Rhone inspired with co-fermented Viognier (7%) and Shiraz (think: Hermitage). The Viognier adds aromatics and generosity of fruit and aims to improve the tannin structure, which I found to be chewy and powerful. 2013 Deadarm is an homage to the Eutypa virus (20% of vines are infected in McLaren Vale) which causes an arm of the vine to die. Once cut off the remaining vine arm has more energy to focus on producing the most concentrated fruit possible. Coupled with some old vines and you’ve got yourself some serious juice.

Afterward we enjoyed a tasty but totally over the top 3 course meal with Serafino, who is a first generation Italian immigrant who is making a wide array of some interesting McLaren Vale wines. 

I’m digging the amount of pickles and olives available at every meal.

Post lunch we head over to Battle of Bosworth in the foothills of western McLaren Vale for a chat about sustainability and organics. What a stunning estate! Tucked in among trees, flowers, and tons of vines, there was a beautiful little house and cellar door. I’m moving in.

The water used for irrigation is all reclaimed rain water which is a lesson to the US where rain water belongs to the government as soon as it touches the ground.

Birds can be a problem so a drone was purchased to fly around and scare them away. A $900 man toy… 

What’s a vineyard tour without some wine? We enjoyed a tasting through most of the offerings of Battle of Bosworth- Chardonnay, Shiraz rose, Cab, Touriga Nacional, Graciano, and an Amarone style blend, White Boar.

And homemade scones!

After a 3 course lunch, scones, and wine, it was of course time for dinner. But first a walk on the beach.

Beautiful pristine beach view from Hortas where we enjoyed seafood and a smattering of Aussie wines. 

Meet James who is a Master Sommelier and currently in Stage 2 of the MW program.

And Doug, who is a Master of Wine. I especially enjoyed the Ashton Hills Pinot Noir from the Adelaide Hills. If you see it, grab it.

We wrapped up the evening with a flight of fortified Portuguese wines which were a welcome non-Aussie treat. God help my liver…


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