Awoke after a peaceful night’s sleep in our 19th century
slate cottage to a beautiful cooked brekky sourced from local
ingredients: bacon, free range eggs, vine ripened tomatoes and
mushrooms. We then walked it off with a 45min walk through the
vineyards and around the streets of this lovely historic town. We
checked out and did a last minute tasting of the wines we hadn’t
tried over lunch yesterday. We then headed towards Clare for a
tasting at Tim Knapstein and a look at the soap shed which
specializes in olive oil soaps. Chris was familiar with Knapstein
beer but not the wines and he was pleasantly surprised. While I was
very taken with the rieslings and an odd blend called “Three”
created from sem/Sav & chardonnay grapes. Chris tried some
amazing shirazes, the best he had tried over the last few days of
tasting. We both agreed that the Clare wines were much nicer and
better value than the Barossa. While we only did five wineries in
the whole Clare region, we came away convinced that it is a real
treasure with great scenery, food and wine. Paula kept finding
beautiful old stone buildings — that real South Australian look, so
well preserved out here. Sadly, the McDonalds code of building is
very visible in the newer suburbs and particularly around the golf
courses — lifestyles of the retired and/or pretentious. Less taste
than a Mildura cleanskin accompanied by a vanamei prawn cocktail.
Crabtree, our last stop, was a treat. Not only did we get a chance
to taste in a very small winery — run by Bruce Woods’ brother
Richard — but we got a view of the ‘valley’ from one of its highest
points. The rieslings lived up to Bruce’s promise with floral and
citrus (Chris is calling in lemon zest here) and the honey, steel
and lemon palate. Paula loves the acidity of the young rieslings,
particularly if the sugar is low and the fruit is there. Chris
still likes them after a few years in the bottle and even with a
bit more sugar, but he is still amazed at the berry, cherry and
chocolate palate in the Shiraz (still don’t quite get the ‘mint’
thing) which we found throughout the valley. Richard’s muscat
showed what you could do with fortified, but it was bone dry and
really a cheese and fruit wine more than a dessert wine. Yummy. So
we had to go — maybe Paula’s riesling epiphany will continue in the
Adelaide Hills, but I rather suspect she will find the Nepenthe
sauv blancs making a strong play for renewed allegiance. I might
find a Pinot! We are now safely tucked away in the country club at
Victor Harbour — safe from tomorrow’s 40 degree heat in Adelaide.
The sea breeze is lovely and we got into the bistro for happy hour:
nothing like cheap drinks and fish and chips to keep life smooth.
Paula has fallen asleep and it sounds like the couple next door are
copulating in their jacuzzi; either that or they are watching a
documentary on seal mating. I think I will read for a while and
reflect on travel, wine and locust-removal techniques for the
bonnet of my car. C’est la vie!