Day 66 – McLaren Vale – Wine, Lunch and Swim

We played cards again last night, and decided that there really should be a better name for this game rather than S’head. Its a great name, but cant exactly turn around to the girls and say “Let me teach you S’head”. Anyone know a more polite name? Another stunning sunset, which Grandpa managed to snap well on his camera.img_2564

I finished my book last night ‘The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, whilst Lach was snoring. I was happy to finish the book as it was fantastic, but at the same time I wanted it to keep going. The sign of a great read. As soon as breakfast finished Audrey and I went off to Woolworths to get our groceries for the next 5 days on Kangaroo Island and fill up with Fuel. We then headed back to get ready for a relaxing day of 2 wineries and a delicious lunch (our xmas present to Nanna and Grandpa).

First stop Oliver Taranga Wines, the second oldest vineyard in McLaren Vale. The oldest being Kay’s where we went yesterday.

This vineyard has been growing grapes for 176 years and supplying to other winemakers, however have only been making wine for 22 years. 6 generations and only this generation, the niece, has become a wine maker and persuaded ‘the olds’ to let her try making some of their own label. So as a project (which they assumed would turn into a little hobby of wine for self consumption) she created the Corrina’s Shiraz Cabernet. Which is a unique method, as its a co-fermented, which means the grapes are blended together as fruit and fermented together, rather than mixed together once the wines have been made. So this is the wine that started the Oliver Taranga wine label. They have 300 acres where majority is contracted out, and 50% of their Shiraz estate is sold to Penfolds for their Grange. Olivers is the only McLaren Vale vineyard to have provided grapes for Penfolds Grange 3 years in a row. Olivers make an exceptional Estate Shiraz from the same grapes called the HJ Reserve Shiraz which spends 2.5years in oak, and is a cracker of a wine. So beautiful and smooth, with creamy undertones as well as being heavy bodied. The lady that served us at Olivers, Yvonne, was an asset to Olivers. She was so knowledgeable about every aspect of the history, the growing, the grapes, the wine making and the actual wines themselves. She is an industrial chemist by trademark but after 3 children needed something more suited to raising children and that involves her passion – what a fantastic lady. They also had a great Rose, made from the Mencia grape, and from this same grape they make a red wine – 2 completely different wines from the same grape. I saw some whiskey bottles on the mantelpiece (a beautiful property which is the restored workmans cottages) and asked whether it was whiskey, but no….its their fortified in old gin bottles. When they were restoring the property they found old gin bottles and modelled these bottles on those. The history of the place is amazing and the families. The fortifieds are called ‘The Banished’ and ‘Ruthless Ruth’ based on family members. Upon leaving this vineyard Grandpa announced that he thought that the McLaren Vale is better than the Barossa. Big call for Dr Beattie. img_2564-2

From this vineyard we purchased:

  • Oliver Tarago 2014 Corrina’s Shiraz Cabernet
  • Oliver Tarago 2012 HJ Reserve Shiraz
  • Oliver Tarago 2012 DJ Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

We only had 1 hour until lunch, as we had spent so much time enjoying and talking at Olivers, but wanted to squeeze in another vineyard. We headed to Beach Road Wines, which is just opposite Olivers and focus’ on European grape varietals. John and I pulled up a seat to commence our tasting, whilst the girls found yet another toy box, and Nanna and Lach wondered around either the gardens or played with the girls.


The main take-out from this vineyard for Grandpa, was that they had a Pinot Grigio and a Pinot Gris, and he learnt that the grape is the same, but its the method that different. When we tasted these two wines, they were literally chalk and cheese. The Italian Grigio was light in colour and crisp with a clean finish, where as the French Gris was dark in colour with a complex nose and zingy acidity. We tried many other varietals but the one that I liked the best was a new one for me called the Greco – which won the top 100 wines in McLaren Vale this year to be drunk all summer. It was delicious with cashew and nougat characters. A rare taste, but beautiful. We left here with a couple of bottles of white for the car:

  • Beach Road 2015 Greco
  • Beach Road 2015 Pinot Gris

Grandpa bought a bottle of the Bolle Rosse Sparkling Red for consumption this evening to celebrate a great week in the Barossa and McLaren Vale, which is a fantastic drop.

Heading back for a quick turnaround to lunch. Lach was the designated driver, as a taxi around here is impossible and the quote we got for 3km return was $140. So Lach and I decided that we can’t justify that, so we would empty our boot and Nanna and I would go into the boot seats for the trip to lunch. We turned up to Star of Greece and were glad that the weather was milder today, so we decided to sit out on the deck over looking Port Willing Beach from high up. It was stunning. So calm with a few surfers and dogs running around the beach. Within a few minutes of sitting down, I was literally staring out to see and saw a seal mucking around. At first I thought it was a surfer, but then soon realised it was a seal. We all managed to see it, as it kept coming to the surface every 5-10seconds. Lach even managed to get a photo of it so far away. The surfer that was near where the seal was, came into the beach pretty quickly having spotted it.

Lunch was magnificent. The girls meals arrived quickly so they were entertained whilst we relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company and the view. Starters, mains and desserts were all fantastic all matched with some great wine from the Adelaide Hills chosen by Grandpa. We didn’t leave here until 230pm, we all could have done with a coffee, but the girls has been so good that we didn’t want to push our luck. So we headed back to the caravan park, with Nanna and I having done some yoga en route to get ourselves into the boot seats (the seats don’t fold forward when you have car seats, so we need to clamber either through the boot for Nanna, or over the back seats for me). Nanna and Grandpa had a snooze and we all headed to the pool for a swim.

A relaxing afternoon and doing some final washing before we head over to KI, followed by a dinner of leftovers. Lach and I packed the van and attached it to the car so that we minimalise our packing for the early departure tomorrow. The first day in our 66 days where we have somewhere to be at a certain time. Ferry at 9am.

Tonight is our last night with Nanna and Grandpa, it has been fantastic seeing them after 2 months and sharing the experience of the Barossa and McLaren Vale with them. The girls have been so excited about them coming to see us, and now they have enjoyed every minute of every day having them. Wanting Nanna and/or Grandpa over Mummy and/or Daddy the whole time. A great bit of reprieve for us – thank you. I’m not sure whether they will return to caravan parks as a future holiday destination, but I think they enjoyed the experience of coming to meet us along our travels.

We finished our holiday with Nanna and Grandpa with a bottle of the Ballycroft 2013 Small Berry Shiraz…. Grandpa’s instant reaction was “God Bless Joe”. The tasting notes from this drop are that its smooth chocolate, filtered, pure, slightly smokey with some oak, but no tannin. We then started comparing to other wines from the last 7 days, and this seems to win…

2 responses to “Day 66 – McLaren Vale – Wine, Lunch and Swim

  1. Sounds like an amazing few days wth the family. And stunning scenery day after day… obviously wine and food too! Your girls are experts at entertaining themselves with toy boxes and no TV. Let’s see what happens when you get home…
    Your research was obviously second to none as no days have been wasted. Enjoy what’s left of the trip of a lifetime xx


  2. Just another beautiful day in the life of the Beattie family. Great people, great wine, great food. Not a lot more to add is there?
    I’m sure Nanna and Grandpa have enjoyed meeting up and it must be lovely tasting and sharing the experiences together.
    Safe journey J&R back to Sydney and a safe crossing to KI. Looking forward to hearing all about it.


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