Monday, March 10, 2008

Autumn in McLaren Vale Wine Region

Well, its now officially autumn, and vintage is almost over in McLaren Vale.

The cooling summer breezes from the Gulf St Vincent and the often quite strong gully winds that come down off the Willunga Hills in the afternoon and evening. These both combine to ensure that a McLaren Vale summer is a perfect environment to ripen grapes – neither too hot nor too cold. This normally makes for a prolonged ripening period during which time the grapes accumulate flavour and intensity.

To put McLaren Vale into a global context it is warmer than Bordeaux and similar to Montpellier in Languedoc in France. It is one of the premier shiraz growing regions of the world. Shiraz makes up the majority of the vine plantings in the region, with cabernet sauvignon, grenache, and chardonnay also abundant. ‘Alternative’ varieties are also planted in the region. These include; marsanne, roussanne, sangiovese, tempranillo, viognier, and zinfandel.

There are a number of sub regions within McLaren Vale — Sellicks Foothills, Blewitt Springs, Seaview, Willunga, McLaren Flat, McLaren Vale, and Clarendon. Each of these have different climates and soil types and so contribute to the complexity of the regions wines.

McLaren Vale reminds me of Tuscany, not only the grape varieties (with some fantastic sangiovese, and barbera’s being produced) but also fresh and pungent olive oils, crusty bread, and the essential stinky cheese — a gourmand would be in heaven. All this, with a beautiful coastline, and so close to Adelaide.

No comments:

Post a Comment