Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Au Pear - Willunga, South Australia - September 2014

Image: Willunga Wino

Au Pear has brought a touch of the French countryside to Willunga.

Accessible via Main Rd, running between McLaren Vale and Willunga, or via the pedestrian and cycleway "Shiraz Trail", the choice is yours.

Stylish entrance. Photo: Willunga Wino

Steel and iron work garden art features throughout, much of which is for sale. 

Garden detail. Photo: Willunga Wino

Inside, the building is cool thanks to stone construction. A calming space, it features pale wood tones and exposed straw thatch ceilings.

Country chic interiors. Photo: Willunga Wino

You could also choose to dine in the garden, or the covered courtyard.

 Blossom and vineyard views. Photo: Willunga Wino

Outdoors is perfect on a spring day.

Could be in France! Photo: Willunga Wino

The trees were in full blossom on our visit, making it even more pretty. 

Beautiful gardens. Photo: Willunga Wino

Before very long, water was brought out for us, along with menus. Service is friendly with just the right level of attention and chattiness.

Menu. Photo: Willunga Wino

We opted for some suitably spring like wines.

The Waywood Rose ($8.50 a glass) the nose was a bit reductive but blew off into ripe paw paw. On the palate it was weighty, hinting at time on skins. Tannin soft grip & juiciness from acid round it out.

The Dowie Doole Chenin Blanc ($9 a glass) had aromas of sherbet and citrus blossoms. 
Crisp, citrusy, light bodied on the palate, it finished with a nice acid line and is very nice to have over lunch in a vineyard.

Wine list. Photo: Willunga Wino

House made bread ($6) is a nice mix of sweet and savoury, with a smooth olive oil texture. Fresh from the oven, it was still warm. 

Accompaniments with the bread included savoury roast veg and olives in one dish, and goat curd with tapenade in another.

 Bread, at top; and entree, at bottom. Photo: Willunga Wino

Entrees are described playfully on the menu as "Here We Go!", and they arrive quickly.

Lemon thyme haloumi ($15) is served on a flatbread, and accompanied by smashed avocado and a satay sauce. 

Topped with a fresh, lightly pickled fennel & carrot julienne salad, the dish is light and fresh with a lift from mint and Thai basil. 

Crunch is also added with a sprinkle of sweet & spicy sunflower seeds sprinkled on the beautiful black slate plate.

Who doesn't love haloumi? ($15). Photo: Willunga Wino

Before mains arrived, some more wine was in order.

The La Curio Nubile Shiraz Grenache 2010 ($9 a glass) had spearmint, blackberries and brambles on the nose. This lead through to a savoury palate making it good with food. 

The Pieri Occasione Shiraz ($9 a glass) has aromatic dark olives, savoury spicy root veg, and caramelised oven roasted leeks. Really! The amarone style has leant a hint of sultanas and spice. On the palate is full bodied fruit, grippy tannin and nice acid.

Wine for two and two for wine. Photo: Willunga Wino

Mains are called "Let's Do It!" on the menu - a cute touch.

Mushroom barley risotto and frittata ($24) has earthy nuttiness from the barley. The frittata was flavoursome and juicy. Blistered greens add colour as does some basil oil and a walnut, carrot and sprout salad. 

An inventive vegetarian option.

 Spring on a plate ($24). Photo: Willunga Wino

Ponzu pork cheek ($31) had a citrusy kick was nice and juicy. A sizable serve, it was accompanied with soba noodles, and a mango and julienne veg salad. 

Ponzu Ppork ($31). Photo: Willunga Wino

Complimentary palate cleansers are offered to match with your mains. 

To go with my mushroom dish, there was a rich, tomato and spanish onion soup "shot and a wedge of zuchinni and cheese foccacia. It was light, fluffy, and crisp on top. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to, but I couldn't resist dipping my bread!

Mr Wino's main was matched with a tangy, green, lemon, coconut & chilli cold soup "shot", with the same foccacia. 

This is a really nice touch and allows you to taste something else if you only have a main dish.

Complimentary spring aroma shots. Photo: Willunga Wino

Not wanting the experience to end, we had an espresso ($3.70) and a soy cappuccino ($4.70).

Spring has sprung in the vineyard. Photo: Willunga Wino

Don't miss taking a peek into the bathrooms, housed in their own pavillion off the main building with a glorious staghorn on the wall, and washbasins with a view.

You might also spot some nice touring vehicles in the carpark.

Nice ride for someone! Photo: Willunga Wino

Au Pear has far better-than-cafe food, and interesting flavours with a twist. The setting is gorgeous especially enjoying the breeze in the manicured garden. 

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Rating : 4.5 Glasses 
Price: $$
Menu: Lovely lunches in the garden with a neat local wine list.
Meal Size: Perfect, with generous extras.
Atmosphere / Ambiance: Rustic chic, French inspired, gardens.
Standout Dish: Spring mushrooms barley risotto $24.
Service: Friendly, quick, and just the right level of attention & chattiness.
Online Booking: Bookings by phone or email

Restaurant Details and Location:

192 Main Rd, Willunga, SA 5172 
Tel No: (08) 8556 4005
Opening Hours: Lunch 12pm - 4.00pm, Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Access: Onsite off-street parking.

Au Pear on Urbanspoon


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Down On The Farm - Willunga - November 2014

Image: Willunga Wino

The barn doors have been flung open to the brand new "The Farm" Willunga.

A welcoming sign. Photo: Willunga Wino

Boasting a purpose made premises, boutique accommodation, a helicopter landing pad, and a flock of guard-geese, it offers a brekky, brunch & lunch option with a country setting.

Stunning ancient gum in the car park. Photo: Willunga Wino

Just outside the town centre of bustling Willunga, The Farm overlooks vines and native gardens dotted with artworks on one side, with the accommodation looking toward the Gulf of St Vincent and the ocean across yet more vines.

Garden of delights. Photo: Willunga Wino

Owner Robyn Dahl Lewis has taken pride in creating an experience from paddock to plate, with a gorgeous setting both inside and out. 

Pretty garden dining area. Photo: Willunga Wino

The Farm barn is purpose designed and built, and it is beautiful.

Beautiful building. Photo: Willunga Wino

Inside offers a comfy lounge as well as a large area of pale wood table and chairs for shaded, air conditioned dining. 

Inside the barn. Photo: Willunga Wino

Olive oil based skin care - from the onsite organic/biodynamic olive farm -  is for sale, making lovely gifts. You can also buy the olive oil and olive oil based skin care at the Willunga Farmers Market.

Colourful skincare. Photo: Willunga Wino

Under display cloches, displayed beautifully are samples of the day's dessert specials. 

Uniquely displayed cakes. Photo: Willunga Wino

Checking them out before ordering is the perfect way to avoid food envy - but making a choice is still very hard.

They are all dressed up, and ready to get in your belleh!

What to choose? Photo: Willunga Wino

A wide array of house made foodie gifts, including olive oil are also on display. 

More in the market. Photo: Willunga Wino

Up at the counter, just to tease as you order your breakky, brunch, lunch, or coffee and cake, are an array of handmade chocolates by local Four Winds Chocolates. They come in innovative flavours like Olive Oil, Cardamon & Lime.

Candy candy candy! Photo: Willunga Wino

Local, small batch wines are available by the glass and bottle to enjoy with lunch. 

Time for a drink. Photo: Willunga Wino

McLaren Vale is home to some sensational share platters, and the one at The Farm Willunga is one of the best.

Colour and movement, Share Platter $45. Photo: Willunga Wino

It is huge.

It is brimming with variety.

It's delicious!

Dig in! Photo: Willunga Wino

Fresh fruit, at least 5 different breads, house made dukkah, herbs from the garden, fresh fruit, pesto, local cheeses. Sensational.

Edible flowers for colour. Photo: Willunga Wino

But there's more!

The platter included a separate dish of chorizo with chickpeas and nuts.

Spicy chorizo. Photo: Willunga Wino

Between three of us we couldn't finish it all! 

Poached pears and cumquats for dessert. Photo: Willunga Wino

On our second visit, we came for brunch.

It was a beautiful morning in the garden, and the double shot piccolo latte hit the spot.

Piccolo in style but not in taste! Photo: Willunga Wino

Can't argue with the setting.

Relax with the peacock. Photo: Willunga Wino

Soak up the atmosphere.

Slice of heaven. Photo: Willunga Wino

Before long, breakfast is served. 

The Country Smoked Bacon & Fried Eggs ($16) is impressive.

Country Smoked Bacon & Fried Eggs ($16). Photo: Willunga Wino

Fresh garden herbs adorn two local eggs, crispy bacon, baguette, whole roasted and semi dried tomatoes.

Loaded with tastiness. Photo: Willunga Wino

Two thumbs up from Mr Wino.

Perfectly cooked. Photo: Willunga Wino

Seasonal mixed mushrooms ($16) on seeded wholewheat Small World Bakery toast sells this dish short.

Shroomy goodness ($16). Photo: Willunga Wino

Fresh garden herbs topped off a generous portion, and hidden amongst the mushrooms are pops of sweetness from grapes and figs pickled in vin cotto.

Mouthful of mushies ($16). Photo: Willunga Wino

It's nice to be able to see where some of the produce comes from.

Kitchen gardens all around. Photo: Willunga Wino

On your way out, you might even be serenaded by the resident guard - dog - geese.

Olives being well guarded. Photo: Willunga Wino

It won't be long before our next visit. See you down on The Farm!

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Rating : 4.5 Glasses 
Price: $$
Menu: Big brekkies, lunches, lots of foodie and skincare gifts.
Meal Size: Generous.
Atmosphere / Ambiance: Outdoors, rustic chic, colourful.
Standout Dish: Lunch platter $45.
Service: Friendly, quick, helpful.
Online Booking: Bookings by phone or email

Restaurant Details and Location:

11 Martin Rd, Whites Valley, SA 5172
Tel No: 0434 125 712
Opening Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 8.30am - 4.30pm 
Access: Onsite off-Street parking.

Farm Willunga on Urbanspoon


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

29 From the Vine - McLaren Vale Wine Show Trade Tasting - Serafino - November 2014

Image: Willunga Wino

In a world first, the McLaren Vale Wine Show in 2014 included judging with food to decide on the trophy winning wines.

The winners were announced at the annual "Bushing Lunch" featuring the crowing of the annual "Bushing King or Queen" - selected from the winemakers receiving trophies in the various regional categories of the McLaren Vale Wine Show.

Bushing Lunch menu 2014. Photo: Willunga Wino

Serafino hosted a trade tasting of the McLaren Vale Wine Show winning wines. 

All the wines were set out in their classes on long, numbered trestle tables. Results books and tasting glasses were handed out at the door, then were set loose with the cream of the South Australian crop.

Trade tasting layout. Photo: Willunga Wino

In case you forget which wine show you are at, there is a stunning reminder. Fringed by the sea, across the Willunga plains, undulating up into the Mt Lofty ranges, McLaren Vale is a unique place creating unique and world class wine. 

Just in case you forgot where you are... Photo: Willunga Wino

Within it's registered area, there are thirty six distinct soil types in the region, captured in the most complete soil map created in Australia.

Unique geology, unique wines. Photo: Willunga Wino

And so to the wines judged in the 2014 show.

1. Angove Waterboys Vineyard 2013 Grenache is herbaceous & sweet fruit on the nose, then on the palate shows strappy acid & soft tongue tingling tannin.

2. Rich Hamilton Centurion Shiraz 2013 has a sweet nose and nice acid light on the tip of tongue at the finish.

Trophy winners. Photo: Willunga Wino

3. Jericho Shiraz 2013 is a lovely medium bodied wine with cherries on the nose.

4. Reynella Basket Pressed Shiraz 2012 is rich, spicy, and sweet plummy on the nose. Fresh & dry on the palate, with a soft tannin at the finish.

Tasty trophy winners. Photo: Willunga Wino

5. Tatachilla Foundation Shiraz 2005 is savoury, with grippy tannin.

6. Tatachilla Foundation Shiraz 2012 has a delectable blackcurrant aroma with a hint of mint.

The old and the new of it. Photo: Willunga Wino

7. Happy Days Shiraz Cabernet 2013 would be fabulous with pizza (no wonder - it's made by the owners of GoodLife Modern Organic Pizza). It's grippy, savoury, and smells of rose petals.

8. Rosemount Traditional GSM  2011 has redskins & eucalyptus on the nose, and a really juicy palate.

Happy Days meets Rosemount. Photo: Willunga Wino

9. Wolf Blass Grey Label 2012 has the hint of musk on the nose and a rich palate.

Wolf Blass. Photo: Willunga Wino

10. Alpha Crucis Total Shiraz 2012 has a sweet cherry and red fruit nose with a soft finish.

Alpha Crucis. Photo: Willunga Wino

11. Kay Brothers Amery Block 6 Shiraz 2012 is delicious with juicy sweet red fruit nose and soft integrated tannin.

Kay Brothers. Photo: Willunga Wino

12. Wirra Wirra RSW Shiraz 2012 has a spicy licorice nose and full palate.

RSW. Photo: Willunga Wino

13. D'Arenberg "Cenosilicaphobic Cat" Sagrantino Cinsault has a blueberry hint on the nose and rich, plush fruit on the palate.

Just some of the d'Arenberg's line up. Photo: Willunga Wino

14. Serafino Fiano has a distinct aroma of bannana flowers.

Fiano the jewel of the Vale. Photo: Willunga Wino

15. Willunga 100 Grenache Rose 2014 has a hint of tomato bush on the nose and a fruit sweet palate - good for spicy food.

16. Paxton Shiraz Rose is mouth coating goodness with a strawberries & cream finish.

17. La Curio "The Selfie" Aglianico Rose has a gorgeous nose and on the palate is crisp & delicious.

Pretty in pink - the Rose class. Photo: Willunga Wino

18. The Headonist Sangiovese Rose had a fresh lemony nose, fruit sweetness and soft acid.

Many grapes used, grenache, shiraz, aglianico...Photo: Willunga Wino

19. Tir na Nog Old Vine Grenache 2008 had sultanas on the nose, followed through on the palate, with a juicy finish.

Tir na Nog being the island of Irish folklore where people "never grow old".

Showing it's age, drinking well now. Photo: Willunga Wino

Like the Adelaide Wine Show, the McLaren Vale Wine show has special classes for provenance, where multiple vintages of the same wine are shown together. A great opportunity to compare vintages past and more recent.

20. Chapel Hill The Vicar Shiraz 2008 still has fresh acid.

21.  Chapel Hill The Vicar Shiraz 2012 has a dark chocolate nose, fine acid & grip.

The 08 still lives vicariously on! Photo: Willunga Wino

22. Woodstock "The Stocks" Shiraz 2002 had a distinctive coffee nose and nice balanced acid.

23. Woodstock "The Stocks" Shiraz 2012 had a sweet chocolate nose.

Coffee & chocolate a decade apart. Photo: Willunga Wino

24. Serafino Teremoto Syrah 2009 was still very fresh, with balanced acid and tannin on the palate.

25. Paxton AAA 2008 Shiraz Grenache has a dark nose, and developed secondary characters, drink any bottles left that you have - now!

Serafino twins. Photo: Willunga Wino

26. Wirra Wirra The Angelus Cabernet Sauvingnon 2004 has the varietal capsicum on the nose, as well as leather & coffee.

27. Joseph Moda Cabernet Sauvingnon Merlot 2012 has the aroma of sultanas & Xmas cake with a juicy palate.

Cab rank. Photo: Willunga Wino

28. Shottesbrooke The Proproetor Reserve Series Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot/Malbec 1996 has a deep port, leather armchair, nose,  still with some fruit stewed with nutmeg and spiced plum. On the palate it is a bit unbalanced though, with very sharp acid.

29. Lino Ramble Treadlie GSM 2013 was delish with a hint of marzipan on the nose.

Likely lads. Photo: Willunga Wino

The trade tasting coincided with Melbourne Cup day, so on exiting the tasting hall we were greeted by a pony, there to welcome guests to Serafino's Melbourne Cup Lunch function. 

Cute she was too.

Cutie. Photo: Willunga Wino

A pleasure to sample the Vale's finest. The show shines a light on the diversity and quality of wines produced in the area, and their potential for aging as well as enjoying fresh as a daisy. 

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Have you got a McLaren Vale favourite? Comment with your answer below!