Is this Australia’s most beautiful wine region?

There’s a place just half an hour from the Adelaide CBD that’s in the midst of a winemaking revolution. As aesthetically striking as the wines it produces, there’s precious little that this cool climate, big future region can’t accomplish when it comes to truly beautiful Australian wine.

The Adelaide Hills is Australia’s most enthralling cool climate wine region. Home to a plethora of exciting wineries and cellar doors from which to choose, the Adelaide Hills sits, nestled away, roughly 600m above sea level in between powerhouse regions like the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek.

Acknowledged internationally for its spectacular wines and postcard scenery, the Adelaide Hills is the kind of place that you read about (in this piece for example), visit down the track and then never, ever forget.

Home to some of the country’s most progressive wineries the Adelaide Hills can ripen almost any worthy grape (and some obscure ones too). So, whatever variety tickles your fancy, the Hills will produce it, and do it well. A place where long, warm days give way to cool, crisp evenings, grape clusters lucky enough to call the Adelaide Hills home ripen slowly allowing the flavours to develop structure, poise and balance.

When it comes to the Adelaide Hills and fabulous wines you’re quite literally spoilt for choice. However, there are two wineries that need special mention. From two of the regions most noteworthy producers, we have selected two very different whites, at two very different price points to outline the sheer quality for which the region is famous.

Nepenthe – Tryst by Nepenthe Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2011
Price: Roughly $16 – an unbelievable price for quality like this.

One of the regions finest and most consistent producers, Nepenthe and its hard-working, innovative team of outstanding winemakers have earned every bit of their prestigious 5 star Halliday rating.

Sensationally bright with all the hallmark tones you’d expect from the Adelaide Hills, this is the kind of wine that’ll have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief – the term “affordable” is nothing short of an understatement. A wine of restrained elegance, which sports a wonderfully floral nose, this blend seems to have come through a challenging 2011 vintage completely unscathed. Succulent, mouthwatering, approachable and the proud owner of an intriguing front palate sweetness, this wine showed a brilliant length and near perfect balance.

Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay 2010
Price: Roughly $40 – Completely indulgent and luxurious Chardonnay

The team at Shaw + Smith have been blowing minds since day one. Established in 1989 by family members Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith, no one wine in their range is more recognisable, more prestigious or more fussed over year in, year out. Introducing… the incomparable M3 Chardonnay.

Using grapes sourced primarily from their Woodside vineyard, there was a huge amount of hype surrounding this wine when it was released. Those who produced it were saying it’s the best ever, while those in the know were comparing it to the finest Burgundy on the market. Showing pronounced tones of lemon rind, peach and grapefruit this wine screams of the care that was so obviously put into each step of the winemaking process. Perfectly layered with flawless oak integration this deliciously restrained wine abounds with length and a creamy, mouth-coating viscosity.

Two great wines at two very different prices, both but a prelude to the quality coming out of the Adelaide Hills. So, if you’re going to head to wine country for a long-weekend, why not do it properly? Get on a plane and head to Adelaide… you’ll find better wine, better value and by far the most beautiful setting in Australia just 30 minutes from the CBD.

Michael

PS. While you’re down there stop in to The Victory Hotel – hand’s down the best pub in the state with one of Australia’s best local wine lists. The Victory Hotel graciously overlooks Sellicks Beach – the home of white sand, crystal clear water and rocky cliffs.

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