Monday, March 26, 2012

Rediscovering McLaren Vale

This weekend I was lucky enough to spend some time touring around the McLaren Vale checking out the wineries. It was Steve's birthday, so our primary destination was d'Arenberg for lunch. Everything else was just decided upon off the cuff.

It's a stunning time of year to be driving around McLaren Vale - it's not too hot, everything is still beautiful and green, and you don't have to deal with large tour groups. Perfect.

The view out the back of Paxtons
We started at Paxton's Wines, which is a beautiful little cellar door. Go out the back and check out the view over the hills while you enjoy a glass of their red.

While we waited to get served at Paxtons, we decided to take to Twitter to see where people suggested we go.
Enter Coriole. They tweeted to Steve that if we visited their cellar door they would sprinkle flower petals down the driveway to welcome us. We loved their banter & set out to visit their flower haven.

It's amazing how easily you can engage with businesses via Twitter, and we often use it to decide where to go for dinners, winery tours etc. We figure if they can find the time to chat to us, it sets them apart from their competitors so we're always happy to give them a go.

The beautiful gardens at Coriole
If you haven't been to Coriole before, plan to spend some time there. It's another stunning venue with amazing wines, beautiful cellar door and stunning grounds. If you can, visit the restaurant and try their cheese platter. It's to die for.

From Coriole we travelled to d'Arenberg, sampled some wine and then got stuck in to the most incredible lunch I've had in years.

I was lucky enough to choose the lobster medallions on crab ravioli. I was in heaven. Everyone else at our table chose well too and we all left suitably stuffed. 

I can't recommend that restaurant enough. It's a little pricey, but you get what you pay for. Absolutely amazing food, plus another great view to enjoy while you eat.

To wrap the day up, we hit up Alpha Box & Dice, which is renowned for being a quirky little cellar door with lots of personality.

We bought a few bottles of wine there while some of our group played pinball on the 'Buck Rogers' machine in the corner.

One of the lounging areas at Alpha Box & Dice

Alpha Box & Dice is great place to take visitors who are looking for an experience that's outside of the bigger commercial cellar doors.

While we didn't have time to check it out yesterday, another great little cellar door is at Samuel's Gorge - a little hidden gem tucked away in an old barn, which is also packed full of charm (& great wine).

With a stack of wine cases to prove the success of our trip, I'll certainly be making the effort to head to McLaren Vale more often over the coming months. I forget it's so close!
I love the photo caption on this picture
The outside of the cellar door at Alpha Box & Dice

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