The Cellar Door Festival, Adelaide
With 180 contributing wineries from 15 South Australian wine regions- yes 15 regions each one distinctive in climate, terroir and varietal diversity- the Cellar Door Festival in Adelaide’s Convention Centre is the tasting equivalent of an Olympic marathon. Not just a marathon but a whole track and field meeting- craft brewers, artisanal cheese wrights, experimental chocolatiers, charcutiers, bespoke distillers and more.
We attended a cheese, chocolate and bubbles (Champagne in all but appellation) masterclass, a collaboration between the Central Market’s Smelly Cheese Shop and chocolatier Steven ter Horst. Some surprising but wonderfully inventive combinations- such as chocolate sandwiched between a triple cream Brie, or even better – a buchettes goats cheese dipped into a chocolate, chilli and spiced fondant- all washed down with South Australian sparkling wines – two whites and two reds (yes sparkling Shiraz is weird, but in this context it perfectly complemented the cheese ‘n’ choc). The only negative was the borderline stinginess of the bubbles servings- barely enough to try with each choc-cheese combo as our tutors instructed. However winning the prize draw for a cheese pack went a long way to ease any slight disappointment.
Meanwhile, after an hour out of the main event, the mainstream Festie was heading rapidly downhill. Limitless tastings plus that Friday night feeling may have affected our critical faculties- but we did a decent job at a few tasting notes from some of the smaller regions and more obscure wineries-
- Coonawarra (home to eucalyptus-scented, cool climate Cabernet Sauvignons), but also a crunchy Riesling and a more complex, salted caramel Fume Blanc – all from Patrick Wines
- a delicious 2004 basket pressed Merlot (smelled like libraries- in a good way, but fruity on the palate) from the Adelaide Hills’ New Era Wines
- a soft Barossa Grenache (perfect with pizza) from Saltram Estate.
Not to overlook the beers- Prancing Pony’s citrusy refreshing Sunshine Ale and Pirate Life’s IPA to name but two.
We even tasted some soft drinks, well one- the zesty and reviving Tassoni from Bottega Rotolo.
The rest, I don’t remember. Chocolate, cheese and wine- a state of mind?
Cellar Door Festival