26 September 2023

Ultimate Winery Experiences

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By Christine Salins.


dArenberg Cube in McLaren Vale

Tasting wines while blindfolded, visiting Australia’s only working cooperage, a biodynamic wine and native food tasting, and tasting a wine from your birth year are just some of the adventures offered by Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia.

This hand-selected collection of premium wineries aims to take people beyond the cellar door, offering memorable experiences around world-class wines, warm hospitality and culinary excellence.

The newest member of the collective is one of South Australia’s oldest wineries. Hardys Tintara joins Gemtree Wines and d’Arenberg as part of the collective in McLaren Vale. Its history dates back to 1878 when Thomas Hardy transformed an old flour mill into what would become South Australia’s largest wine enterprise.

Tintara’s Tasting in the Dark experience, held in Hardys’ private cellars, allows blindfolded guests to discover how removing the sense of sight influences the tasting experience and enhances the palate. It also offers a Hidden Secrets tour of Hardys’ stunning heritage buildings, memorabilia and sprawling gardens, followed by a tasting.

Seppeltsfield Taste Your Birth Year tour

The trio of Hardys Tintara, d’Arenberg and Gemtree forms an exciting wine trail, each one offering innovative experiences. d’Arenberg showcases contemporary art in its Salvadore Dali exhibition and Alternate Realities Museum, while Gemtree welcomes visitors to its biodynamic vineyards with an eco walk and a bush food tasting.

Visitors can enjoy a rare insight into the craft of wine barrel-making at Yalumba, create their own wine with personalized label at Mandoon in Western Australia’s Swan Valley, and have a five-course degustation lunch at the newly opened Printhie Dining in Orange.

They can taste a wine from their birth year directly from the barrel at Seppeltsfield, go on a tour of Rosé at Dominique Portet, and do a Cape to Vine walk at Margaret River before indulging at Margaret River’s founding wine estate, Vasse Felix.

In the Hunter Valley, they can enjoy a VIP tasting at historic Tyrrell’s, have a picnic among the vines at Audrey Wilkinson for lunch, and taste pre-release wines from the barrels at Brokenwood.

The wines featured here are from wineries that are part of Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia. For details about all the experiences on offer, visit www.ultimatewineryexperiences.com.au

Josef Chromy 2021 Pinot Gris, $32: This full, rich, dry white was named Best Pinot Gris in the 2022 Tasmanian Wine Show. Consumers love it too as it is the Tasmanian winery’s most popular white. With pear and stonefruit notes, and hints of ginger, citrus and spice, it is fresh and zesty and pairs easily with a wide range of food.

Luna Crescente 2021 Fiano, $26: From Gemtree Wines in McLaren Vale, this low-preservative, vegan-friendly wine is certified organic and biodynamic. Crisp and fresh, with floral aromas and loads of interesting textures, it’s a beautiful wine for chilling out with.

Dominique Portet 2021 Fontaine Rosé, $24: I’ve long been a fan of this aromatic Provence-style Rosé from the Yarra Valley. A gorgeous pale salmon pink colour, it is soft and fresh, savoury and creamy, with hints of pepper and spice. Always a joy to drink.

Mandoon Estate 2016 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, $80: Rich and intense but with a lovely elegance, this Margaret River Cabernet has blackberry and cinnamon notes, beautifully balanced oak, and a deliciously long finish. A real treat.

St Hugo 2019 Grenache Shiraz Mataro, $45: Gotta love a Barossa Valley GSM and this one is no exception. A harmonious blend of some of the Barossa’s best varietals, it is medium-bodied and food-friendly. With hints of pepper, spice, and Turkish delight, it has bright cherry, plum and raspberry notes, and smooth, silky tannins.

Penfolds 2017 Bin 2 Shiraz Mataro, $40: A savoury, full-bodied Barossa blend with bold tannins and generous flavours of blueberries, cranberries and pomegranate. Mataro, also known as monastrell or mourvèdre, adds body and complexity to the blend. Put this one away for a few years yet.

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