Wine Regions

Clare Valley Wine Region

The Clare Valley wine region, Sth Australia, boasts natural beauty & located a short drive from the city.

The Clare Valley is one of the prettiest wine regions in Australia. Boasting natural and manmade beauty from its vineyards to the Bluestone buildings, it is perhaps slightly unfair that the region also produces such wonderful wine. Breaking away from city or suburban life for a long weekend and taking a bike ride along the Clare Valley Riesling Trail is enough to inspire selling up and putting down roots in this glorious part of the world. South Australia is famous for its wine regions, most notably the Barossa. However, it is in the Clare Valley to the north that that states oldest winery can be found.

 

Jesuit brothers established the Sevenhill winery in 1851 to produce sacramental wine. Today the cellar door is open and connoisseurs can even buy wine online from the brothers. History is important in the area, with villages dating back to settlement but innovation and enterprise has always been part of the Clare Valley spirit.

 

New vines have been planted and wineries in the region are responding to demands and trends. As such many of the wineries in the Clare Valley have outgrown their best-kept-secret status to become household names.

Get to the Clare Valley

Beyond the Barossa Valley, approximately 130kms north of Adelaide is the Clare Valley. The Clare Valley map shows it is as close to straight run north as can be and short turn right before the town of Clare.

Climate & Wine Style

The climate in the Clare Valley brings heat during the day but that is countered by cooler nights. The ripe fruit from the warm days is given essential balance of acidity when the sun goes down and the temperature drops. The climate is cooler than state neighbours McLaren Vale or the Barossa Valley hence the popularity of white wines in Clare Valley.

 

Young Clare Valley Riesling is austere with notes of limes and passionfruit. Many examples of this wine will be found to feature steely acidity and mineral freshness and are long-lived. With age, the wine develops some notes of brown toast as well as the unusual but very welcome hint of kerosene.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon is the other great Clare Valley red wine. Unlike some Cabernet Sauvignons from warmer regions that can tend to overpower or be too intense, wines from the Clare Valley hold back to offer more balance. Tim Adams’ ‘Sheppard’s Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon is a good example of the style.

Climate and wine style

The climate in the Clare Valley brings heat during the day but that is countered by cooler nights. The ripe fruit from the warm days is given essential balance of acidity when the sun goes down and the temperature drops. The climate is cooler than state neighbours McLaren Vale or the Barossa Valley hence the popularity of white wines in Clare Valley.

 

Young Clare Valley Riesling is austere with notes of limes and passionfruit. Many examples of this wine will be found to feature steely acidity and mineral freshness and are long-lived. With age, the wine develops some notes of brown toast as well as the unusual but very welcome hint of kerosene.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon is the other great Clare Valley red wine. Unlike some Cabernet Sauvignons from warmer regions that can tend to overpower or be too intense, wines from the Clare Valley hold back to offer more balance. Tim Adams’ ‘Sheppard’s Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon is a good example of the style.

Clare Valley important grape varietals

Wherever wine is grown in Australia Chardonnay will number among the varietals and the Clare Valley is no different. It is also home to Riesling, for which the region best known. In addition, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer can be found in many vineyards as well as some cracking Semillon.

 

As for Clare Valley red wines, it wouldn’t be South Australia without Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot and Malbec and they are abundant in the Clare Valley. There are also plenty of the smaller names, many of which are part of the new wave such as Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Grenache and the difficult but rewarding Nebbiolo.

Clare Valley Wine Region

Clare Valley top brands and wineries

The number of wineries producing high quality Clare Valley estate wines is impressive. While Riesling is the standout wine from this region, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are all big hitters as well.

 

In the Clare Valley, from the historic Sevenhill winery producing heavenly reds and whites to ​Petaluma’s stable of high-scoring stars, the quality wine both is high and consistent. While Jim Barry and Grosset may compete for bragging rights with some of the best Rieslings the region has to offer, ultimately, everyone is a winner with James Halliday awarding points in the high nineties to both. Those are to highlight but a few: Taylors, Tim Adams, Mockingbird Hill, Kilikanoon, Leasingham and Annie's Lane are all fine producers with Pikes Riesling a common sight on Australian tables with Vietnamese food.

The future of Clare Valley

For the Clare Valley the future is looks good. While the Barossa to the south remains the jewel in the South Australian crowns of tourism and wine, the Clare Valley rewards the more adventurous spirits who want more than the obvious. The more than 150 year story of this region is one of rewarded diligence and successful innovation, in that respect little will change in the Clare Valley.

File under:

  • Clare Valley
  • South Australia
  • Chardonnay
  • Riesling