Sunday, 23 August 2009

Stop w(h)ining

Hardy's Tintinara 'cellar door', McLaren Vale

One of the joys of being down here is the opportunity to check out the local wines. Here in Happy Valley (what a great name for a place so close to the wine growing regions!) we are surrounded by famous Australian wine regions like Barrossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Conawarra. Last week, before travelling to Hatherleigh, Shirley and I had the opportunity to drive down to McLaren Vale and view the vineyards, taste the wine and take in the atmosphere. McLaren Vale is a small town that serves the valley and has a lovely 'old world Aussie' atmosphere. We can recommend Oscar's Bistro in the centre of the town, opposite the Tintinara cellar door shown in the picture. The service and the food were both excellent. A little further down the street is located the 'Almond Train'. This consists of two 1915 vintage railway carriages that have been converted into a shop and a small restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant was not open when we were there. The shop stocks the largest range of almonds you have ever seen. From lime almonds to toffee almonds there were all there. Best of all? you could taste them for free to decide which you wanted to buy!

Whilst down on the Lime Coast we were also able to drive through the Coonawarra wine region and it is just like driving down the wine rows in Tesco. Row after row after row of famous labels on display. Unfortunately Australia has over invested in wine production and many of the vineyards are now up for sale as they are unable to make a living from selling their wine. Sad, but what is eventually left should be stronger for it.

In the mean time I shall continue to enjoy the output from the vineyards and down here it seems to taste so much better! It must be the climate.

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