For Mr50’s recent birthday we finally got to squeeze in a long weekend in the beautiful Barossa Valley !
Its been 20 years since we have been to Adelaide and despite exploring a lot of wine country around Australia, the South Australian one’s have always eluded us.
We picked up a hire car at the airport and headed straight out of town with peak hour traffic similar to Brisbane back in about 1995. An easy scenic drive and just under 90 minutes later we pulled into our accommodation , Lanzerac Estate just outside Tanunda. This is lovely B&B style accommodation that is owned and operated by a hard working extended family that deserve the glowing reviews they receive. The rooms are well appointed and breakfast in the morning in the Barn is so big and delicious it almost ruins your lunch!
( we paid about $300 pn including breakfast – http://www.lanzerac.com.au)
We had a pleasant meal at ‘The Club’ in town recommended by the owner’s father, who also offers to drop you in and pick you up if you feel like having a few drinks. The meals were good and the place was packed, although a lot of older folk and it has a small town feel about it with a lot of tourists trying to blend in with the locals.
The next day we headed to the farmers markets in Angaston, a town that reminds me a lot of Healsville in the Yarra Valley. It was great to see so many local growers and makers and lots of stalls run by local characters. We stopped in for coffee at Stephanie Alexander’s farm and Mr50 declared the peach muffin possibly the best muffin he’s had – in 50 years !
With over 200 cellar doors in the Barossa and Adelaide Hills we had to be highly selective about which ones we could see in only 3 days. The highlights were probably ;
- Artisans of Barossa ( representing 6 excellent small boutique wineries including the amazing former Penfolds winemaker, John Duval, Sons of Eden and Spinifex
- St. Hugo
- Turkey Flat ( home to the oldest continually producing shiraz vines in the world!)
We did visit the huge modern Jacob Creek establishment but could not get in for lunch despite the restaurant clearly being half empty, however, we did get the last table at Lou Miranda down the road and had an excellent lunch and great wines in their really authentic Italian trattoria.
The gastronomic highlight of the weekend was dinner at the divine FermentAsian, a fine dining Asian-fusion restaurant housed in an old heritage house with excellent service and an 85 page wine list that won Gourmet Traveller Best Wine List of the Year only a few days earlier. Seriously we still talk about the spring rolls and the prawns with pomelo – world class food, and well priced too.
We spent the 3rd day making our way back to Adelaide via the Adelaide Hills where again there are just so many great places to stop. As a chardonnay drinker from way back we had to pay homage to Petaluma which has a brand new home right next door to Bird at Hand, which is also an excellent cellar door with great service and a beautiful set up. We finished the day with a stop at Shaw and Smith, the only place we encountered that charge for tasting but they do it in a clever way with a wine flight paired with matching cheese and I wouldn’t imagine many people would complain.
Our last night was spent at the gorgeous Mayfair Hotel in Adelaide, an art-deco conversion of a former Insurance building and a fairly new addition to the Adelaide accommodation scene. With a stunning rooftop bar and a great location it’s hard to find anything negative to say and we would definitely stay there again.( we paid about $180 – http://www.mayfairhotel.com.au/)
We had a great ( but huge!) Italian meal at Parlamento around the corner that was packed and you can why it has a cult following – its certainly something of an institution.
What a beautiful part of Australia and an area we plan to explore a lot more. Next time we want to check out the McLarenvale and Coonawarra regions. Wine and the Beach – it doesn’t get much better than that !
- footnote – Fermentasion was named in Tripadvisor’s Top 10 Restaurants of Australia just this week ( October 18, 2016). And actually its a very good list – for a change.