Your guide to Fleurieu Peninsula
Winemaker Toby Bekkers is producing limited batches of grenache and syrah from small parcels of McLaren Vale vines and the results are exceptional. Find the Bekkers small tasting room open 10am-4pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday and other times by appointment. The small shed that’s home to Alpha Box and Dice’s tasting room could be mistaken for a bar in Fitzroy. It’s laiden with antique furniture, artworks, and wines that are firmly leftfield, including the Apostle with shiraz and burif and Golden Mullet Fury with semillon, arneis and viognier. McLaren Vale stalwart D’Arenberg has been harvesting grapes for over 100 years. Expect over 60 drops from 25 different grapes.
Boutique distilleries have been popping up all over South Australia and down on the Peninsula is newbie Encounter Coast Spirits, which produces small-batch gins, vodkas, brandies and liqueurs under the watchful eye of sixth-generation farmer Quentin Anderson. Grab a bottle of the Thymus Gin which emanates lavender aplenty.
At Encounter Coast Spirits, also find the Irreverent Kitchen, which produces Australian-native chutneys, jams and dressings. Head to Primo Estate to taste Extra Virgin Olive Oils (matched with Italian Grana Padano cheese and local crusty bread) and estate wines, particularly the flagship Joseph Angel Gully Shiraz 2014. Coriole has become the nation’s finest producer of Kalamata, Koroneiki, Verdale and Leccino olives. Coriole also makes a very decent range of wine (buy the Lloyd Reserve Shiraz) and Woodside Cheese Wrights fromage.
The peninsula has plenty of beaches backed by weathered limestone cliffs. Reefs and shipwrecks can be explored by scuba divers. In winter, Southern Right whales can be viewed from Goolwa to Victor Harbour.
Located in an 1851 farmhouse, the Salopian Inn offers local, seasonal produce from fruit and veg from the kitchen garden to local seafood, game and meats (right now order the venison and the salted snapper croquettes). Make time for the six-course degustation at Leonard’s Mill, where regional food and wine highlight a menu that’s a McLaren Vale must.
Take a gourmand tour of the Fleurieu Peninsula with Off Piste 4WD Tours – eat local cheese and taste McLaren Vale wine by a billabong, stop by Bekkers Wine or another winery, and drive on the beach at Aldinga with a craft beer in hand.