Are we there yet? Still trying to make it to the outback, it was necessary to pass through McLaren Vale, one of the many notable wine growing districts of South Australia and certainly worthy of another diversion. With 74 cellar doors open for tasting, is it possible to drive through this town, without sampling a wine or two?
After setting up camp, we wandered along a section of the inviting walking track, the Shiraz Trail, and whoops, found ourselves in the vast estate with winding driveway that enters Serafino winery and restaurant. It was early evening. The Serafino restaurant, like some Pavlovian experiment, seemed to be beckoning us to its door. My semi feral camping appearance, hat not fully disguising unruly hair, allowed me to emerge from this spell. We wisely turned back to our little home on wheels.
The next morning, all scrubbed up and ready to face a new day, we drove up the fabulous driveway, past the lake with friendly geese, and entered the Serafino cellar for a quick wine tasting. The young attendant informed us that morning wine tastings were a good idea as the palate was still untainted! Excellent news. At 10.30 AM, I felt justified, if not virtuous, by sampling a few of the range on offer.
The wines are listed in categories, from Serafino Terremoto (the big reds) and Reserve wines, followed by lighter styled vintages. I always lean towards the Italian varietals and was pleased to see their ‘Bellissimo’ range included Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Fiano, Pinot Grigio and the Spanish variety,Tempranillo. I am a big fan of Nebbiolo, knowing only a few companies making an Australian version, so this was a little heavenly moment. Thankyou Bacchus. Given the offer of free postage, a few cases were ordered and sent home. I joined the Serafino wine club, and even though I missed the chance to enjoy the restaurant, I am a happy camper.
We tried two other wineries, dropping into Hugo Wines to pick up a couple of aged Shiraz, and a bottle of their award-winning olive oil, then we were safely on our way. Only the Clare wine growing district ( home of divine Riesling ) could lead us further astray before making it to the outback, but we had happily spent out wine dollar in McLaren Vale.
It is worth reading Serafino (Steve) Maglieri’s story of migration from Campobosso, Italy in the 1960s, as a young man with little English and $20.00 in his pocket. Another remarkable Italo- Australiano!