South Australia is the eating and drinking state. There is no doubt about it. We are home to some truly talented individuals and Cellar Door Fest is the showcase of some of the best our state has to offer.
Equipped with some choice words from the wine vernacular, an ability to drink more than the average girl and also bottomless stomachs for free samples we tackled the Cellar Door Fest head on.
First tip: Have a Plan. The Fest is huge. We spent a lot of time walking around overwhelmed at all that was on offer. Luckily the Adelaide Convention Centre has put up handy signs to denote each region. So pick a region and get started.
We visited several well-known wineries and several lesser-known wineries and have compiled a list of some of our favourites to make your navigation easier.
It is easy to be overwhelmed walking in so why not head to the major wine sponsor first which is Howard Vineyard (Adelaide Hills). Located in Nairne and producing cool climate, estate grown wines. Head winemaker Tom Northcott is holding tastings of the Amos range in intimate sessions throughout the duration of the fest. In between he is at the stall offering tastings of the well-known Picnic Range and also the Clover Range. Try the Picnic Range 2015 Sauvignon Blanc. All you die hard savvy fans will swoon over this. It is very good example of Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc with that tell tale green capsicum flavour and herbaceous notes.
The Lane (Adelaide Hills) is a winery well known for its panoramic view and award-winning restaurant so sufficed to say there was a little line for tasting. It is worth the wait to try the fabulous NV Lois Sparkling. It not hard to see why this is on so many pouring lists at our favourite establishments.
Barratt (Adelaide Hills) is a smaller stall with less of the production and fan fare of the larger wineries so it is easy to miss but trust us, it is a must see! Family owned and run this winery is well known for their Pinot Noir (of which they make several), which are all stunning but if you are there try the Chardonnay. They are pouring 2012 Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay and it is toasty, buttery, oaky goodness.
The Barossa Valley is not just for Shiraz so we headed to the king of the alternate variety in the region, Dell’uva wines. These guys are home to the largest range of European varietals in Australia with a good chunk of them available for tasting at the stall. It is pretty easy to get consumed and stay at the stall for ages (especially if you are a wine nerd). We loved the 2014 L’Amato Amphora Moscato Gialla. Fermented in an amphora (essentially a massive concrete egg that the wine is fermented in) it has a sweet moscato smell but is bone dry to finish.
Poonawatta (Eden Valley) is well worth a stop off as well. A relatively small winery, they specialise in Riesling and Shiraz and they do it well. The Eden 2015 Riesling is spritzy and mineral with flavours of pear and peach. There were whispers of a museum release for the Rieslings coming up so sign up to the mailing list for some aged Riesling delights.
Rusty Mutt (Mclaren Vale) was a stall we were originally attracted to because of the cute dog labels. We stayed for the 2014 GSM. These guys do not have a cellar door so the Fest is the perfect opportunity to check them out!
Tidswell Wines (Limstone coast) is a winery we are familiar with having been able to visit their Norwood cellar door leading up to the Fest. We can not recommend the Vermentino enough! It is incredible!
If wine is not your thing do not fret! There is a huge indoor beer garden featuring Pirate Life, Prancing Pony, Lobo and Smiling Samoyed among many, many others. It is always nice to get cleansing ale to break up the wine.
There is so much to do and see at the Cellar Door Fest. Get there early, avoid the lines and take your time. There are so many winemakers (particularly at the smaller stalls) who love to talk wine and vintage so feel free to really beverage nerd out!
Last tip: Wear your stretchy clothes, you will not be able to resist the cheese and chocolate samples!