When Glam Adelaide was invited along to d’Arenberg on Saturday, at the end of a very long and calorie-filled Tasting Australia week, food was the last thing on our minds. We expected to roll up to the McLaren Vale institution to learn more about the brazen $11m CUBE that’s being erected just a stone’s throw from the winery’s cellar door which is due for completion later this year. Perhaps a site tour, followed by a wine tasting. We were invited as part of Aussie Wine Month after all.
When word reached us however, that elastic pants were the order of the day, the anticipation of a food-filled experience at their signature restaurant d’Arrys Verandah, over ruled any consideration of calorie-counting, and we were all in. Ready to consume whatever was dished up. Which was lucky, because consume we did.
d’Arenberg has long been a part of the landscape in the Vale, as has its namesake, d’Arry, who at 89 years old, still sits proudly at its helm. He lives on the property and, between his daily trips to collect the mail and do the banking, he often pops in to the cellar door to say hello to the visitors who come far and wide to enjoy the food and wine on offer. d’Arry is as much a drawcard to the winery as his son, Chester, whose bright shirts, big personality, and inspired ideas are known throughout the industry and beyond.
Well Saturday delivered an abundance of what we have come to love about d’Arenberg. We got a chance to speak with d’Arry, enjoy the view from the cellar door, and soak in the rest of the d’Arenberg experience. Although Chester was away on holidays, we caught a glimpse of the epic Cube, one of his inspired ideas, which is well underway, and will soon be the most modern architectural building in the region, as well as a hub of learning, wine appreciation and more. Rather than our misguided hunch that we’d be given a site tour of the construction zone however, we got down to the serious business of wine tasting as soon as we arrived. Which, to be honest, was way more fun.
d’Arenberg offers a plethora of wine experiences for both the experienced connoisseurs and those who have just graduated from cask wine to the good stuff. From simple cellar door tastings, to blending and bottling your own wine and then experiencing vertical tastings, there’s something for everyone.
When I say we got down to the serious business of wine tasting, I’m talking vertical tastings. 12 wines before lunch in fact. It was a brilliant way to see how each wine evolved, and to enjoy some cracking vintages while educating ourselves on tasting notes, what to look for, and hear from their head wine maker what affected each year to create the magical vino that was in our glass. To add to the interest, we did the single sites vertical tasting, which means the grapes only came from one location for each of the vintages we sampled. Definitely an experience for the wine lover out there.
From The Stables where the wine tasting class was held, our group then made its way to the gourmet haven that is d’Arrys. 7 courses awaited us, with 14 matching wines. My personal favourite, the lobster ravioli, wasn’t on the menu that day, but hey, it gives me every reason to go back again this weekend. What was on the menu however, blew the minds of all those at lunch. Including a fabulous group of women who had flown in from Germany, Sydney and Melbourne to attend. Now THAT’S dedication to food and wine. Bravo.
Nothing tells the story better than photos (well for me anyway), so here’s a snapshot of what the talented kitchen produced. If you ever get the chance, check this place out. It’s always on our radar for anniversaries and birthday lunches. Brilliant food, wine and of course THAT view of the valley. Bottoms up!
To experience any of this for yourself, don’t worry about missing Aussie Wine Month (although it is always here again next year), because Sea & Vines is just around the corner. There will be a similar event happening with a wine masterclass and degustation. Check out their website for more info: http://www.darenberg.com.au/events