Clare Valley Riesling

Ain’t gonna let it bother me today

I been workin’and I’m too tired anyway

But its alright ’cause its midnight

And I got two more bottles of wine

Words and music by Delbert Mcclinton sung by the irrepressible

Emily Lou Harris undefined

One of our planned destinations was the Clare Valley. Famous for its riesling wines. We have visited McLaran Vale and the Barossa Valley and enjoyed both regions immensely. We spent time in the Adelaide Hills wine region last year including an enjoyable visit and tasting at The Bird in the Hand Winery, now sadly the victim of this summers bush fires. We hoped the Clare Valley would be a pleasant finish to this quartet of South Australian wine regions. But first we bade farewell to the Murray River with a couple of nights at Renmark. This small riverside town is some 250kms north of Adelaide and still in the Riverlands District. It was here that Australias first naval orange tree was introduced. True fact. It is also the home of Angove Wines, one of Australias most well known wine makers. There are several houseboat fleets on the riverfront and family and diverse groups enjoy a week on the Murray floating and relaxing. undefined

Swimming in the Murray at Renmark. I’d rather be houseboating.

We camped again on the riverfront expecting a couple of quiet days before immersing ourselves in the faux occupation of wine tasting and talking nonsense about vintages and varieties. Little did we know that we had picked the time when the Yorke Peninsula farmers took their kids out of school for two weeks of waterskiing. Beside us. From 10am until 8pm. The waterskiing that is. The partying went on until 2am. They were lovely people. Just rowdy.

The camp was again shaded by Red River gums which unbeknown to us was home to one very friendly koala. One evening as we sipped our predinner cocktails he popped down and poked his head in to see if the G and T’s were properly mixed before climbing  back up a tree. Caused quite a stir.

We passed through Paringa on our way to Clare at which stage we were truly beyond the Black Stump. Actually a huge petrified River Gum fished out of the Murray and transported by barge to Paringa.

The Clare Valley is true to its name. A wide valley 100 kms north of Adelaide it was formed by the Hutt River but is now river free. The winemakers rely on rainfall which this season was low. Consequently grape yield will also be low but quality good. All in all the growers we spoke to were sort of happy. And no smoke damage as in other regions.

The riesling trail is 31 kms long, passes through 7 small towns and numerous vineyards.

                                                 There is a toilet for everyone in Clare.

Clare is the main town in the valley and is small but well established with all the needed facilities. Cafes of course. The first vineyard in the Clare Valley, Seven Hills, was established by Jesuit monks who arrived from Poland in the 1840s. They transported their vines in potatoes and continue to run the winery today.The small stream that runs through the winery is named the Tiber. Get it. Seven Hills. Rome. Jesuits etc. We cycled and tasted at Seven Hills, Jim Barry, A Good Catholic Girl and our favourite Tim Adams. Great rieslings obviously but also grenache, tempranillos, sauvignon blancs and a host of other varieties and blends. But life is not all wine and roses. Sadly we had to move on.


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