D’Arenberg’s red blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre, part of their Stump Jump range, has long been one of my favourite cheap and cheerful wine choices. A bottle always seems to make it into a mixed half dozen when I’m restocking the wine rack. So there was no doubt on a recent trip to McLaren Vale that a stop and a quaff at their cellar door was going to be high on my list of ‘to do’s’
The winery is perched high on a hill and the long gravel driveway took us by rickety old sheds, majestic gumtrees and a lawn that was just begging for a picnic. The cellar door is housed in the 19th century homestead with exposed beams and an old world feel. There are views over vineyards all the way to the Willunga Hills in the distance. The tasting bar is made up of glasses display cases with various old time tools and other interesting pieces of history of the family owned vineyard.
The vineyard was established in 1912 by Joseph Osborn, a teetotaller, and grapes were sold to other winemakers until cellars were completed in 1928. In 1959 Joseph’s grandson, Francis, started the d’Arenberg range which he named after his mother. It quickly became a judge favourite winning many local and overseas awards. Amazingly in this day and age of multinational conglomerates, d’Arenberg remains family owned and run with fourth generation winemaker Chester Osborn now at the helm.
The cellar door staff enjoy a chat and genuinely love the product they are spruiking. They talk about the soils and technique that goes into producing each wine without sounding pretentious and encouraged us to try the more expensive wines that were open on the day.
The tasting list is extensive and I’m sure that if I had attempted to taste every wine on it I would have rolled out of there and straight down the hill. However D’Arenberg make a number of wines out of my favourite varietal; Grenache so I made sure that I tried out all they had to offer using this often underrated and little known grape.
Another quirk of D’Arenberg wines is their use of memorable names. Their wines are never christened after stuffy pioneers of the local area or boring bin numbers but rather are named for a story of their making. A Grenache that I tasted and purchased was called The Derelict Vineyard referring to the unkempt vineyard which the grapes were sourced from.
So while I added D’Arenberg cellar door to my list of wineries to visit because I enjoyed their cheap and cheerful Stump Jump range I also walked away with a few of their more expensive tipples. The next time I restock my wine rack it will be hard to stick to the cheap and cheerful choices.
D’Arenberg cellar door is open 10am to 5pm 7 days a week.
Closed on Christmas Day, New Years Day and Good Friday.