Sunday, December 13, 2009

South Australian Trip 2009

So after last year's trip to South Australia specifically timed to coincide with Noon Winery's once a year opening was such a success, we decided to do it again. So Dennis and I took Friday off and went up there for a weekend to buy more wines.

We went to the Coonawarra region on the first day. As most of the wineries weren't open till at least 10am, we drove to Mount Gambier for some sightseeing. We ticked off all 5 of Mount Gambier's top tourist attraction. The best was the blue lake, which was extremely blue indeed and very beautiful. This beauty was surpassed by the Sinkhole, which was this volcanic hole where plants had been planted and created this sunken lush spread lost garden feel.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate had three really distinctive buildings that is used in their label.

Rymill Winery had the most spectacular view from their third story. The two iconic horses statue outside also features on their label.

I was also extremely impressed with Rymill winery's testing lab for wine. How cool is that, wine making is a science. So when I'm drinking my wine, I'm actually conducting an experiment.

For dinner, this year we made sure we went to Alphutte. Dan from Tummy Rumbles had recommended it for our trip last year, but Alphutte must be the weirdest restaurant in the world in terms of opening hours because they are actually shut on the weekends. So last year we didn't get to go, but this time we made sure we went on Friday night.

The food is Swiss food, and it was actually very good. The Seafood Entree consisting of juicy pieces of lobster, prawns and scallops covered in a puff pastry and sauce was delicious.

The steaks were cooked well in a simple pepper sauce and steamed vegetables. The Swiss Potato side that we got was really good. It was slivers of potato cooked like a fritata.

The Brandy Basket with fruit and ice cream was refreshing.

Saturday saw us visiting Noon to buy our wines. We were all ready for a massive queue this year and got there really early at 8am, only to find no queue. Bad weather meant Noon didn't make any of their wines this year except for the Eclipse. So we got our maximum allotment of 6 Eclipse.

Whilst in the McClaren Vale region, we also visited Kay Brothers Amery as Dennis wanted to pick up his Block 6 wines. Colin Kay was generous enough to speak with us for half an hour about the state of his wines, the weather effects (we were there during the 40 deg plus week in South Australia) and the general state of wines in South Australia.

A visit to South Australia would be incomplete without a visit to Penfolds. This time we visited the MacGill Estate Penfolds. This was the original Penfolds location I think, and they still grow vines here for their MacGill Estate wines. It was really strange to see this block of vines smack bang in the middle of the city.

We made sure we stayed at Glenelg this year, and it was brilliant. We were literally a stone's throw away from the beach and marina and made full use of that. Having a beer and some coffin bay oysters freshly shucked along the marina with the wind gently blowing into your face is as close to heaven as you can get I think.

Finally, on the last day, we visited Hahndorf, the "German town" as it's known. I don't know how authentic German it was. Bakeries had vanilla slices instead of German cakes. It was all a bit gimmicky, but still fun to walk through all the shops.

And there ends three fun days in South Australia. I think the Noon Winery trip could become a yearly pilgrimage now, if only to have an excuse to enjoy a few fun days in South Australia and drinking good wines.


  1. Thanh, it's so hard to believe it's been a year since you did this trip last year. Where does the time go?

    Great to hear that you had a great trip again. That food looks tasty.

  2. Isn't it so fast Anna? Where does the time go? So much has happened in a year. You're now engaged, congrats.

    The trip was excellent again. Must do it again next year.

  3. Thanks for the write up and providing me with the link! :)

    I'm looking forward to Alphutte's and will have to fit a short visit to Penfolds into our McLaren Vale itinerary!