The Alternative Grape Varieties that will re-define the Clare Valley

Whether we describe it as global warming, climate change, or just part of a long term natural cycle, the Clare Valley appears to be getting warmer, drier and the vintages earlier in recent decades. As a result viticulturalists and winemakers have been experimenting with varieties other than the five classic varieties that define Clare Valley wine. (See my article on this topic). Most of the inspiration for this work is coming from the warmer climates of Mediterranean Europe, and much of the interpretation is being done by ladies such as Kerrie Thompson, Marnie Roberts, Stephanie O'Toole - or a new guard of young guns led by Colin McBryde, Damon and Jono Koerner. Vermentino. This amazing grape from the Ligurian coast is very versatile. Watervale grower Anthony Koerner sells fruit to Kerrie Thompson which KT makes into her 'Bianca', Marnie Roberts for her Matriarch and Rouge 'Maurie', Colin McBryde, and his sons 'Koerner' who call their's 'Rolle' one of the variety's many synonyms. Each of these wines are completely different expressions. At the Watervale Hotel we have remain faithful to KT's Bianca as a wine that can delight even the most dogmatic lover of Sauvignon Blanc. Fiano. Again not widely grown in the Clare Valley, but one broadly interpreted in the region. This Italian grape originating from Campania or Sicily can be fresh light and easy drinking like the Shut the Gate, more textural like Pikes or even lightly oaked in Chardonnay style as produced by Mocundunda. We stock the Mocundunda for a local alternative for Chardonnay drinkers. Sangiovese. This red variety of Tuscany enjoys the Clare Valley climate. We have the Koerner Sangiovese on our list. It…

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The Festival of The Lamb

The Festival of the Lamb is an event sponsored by the Mintaro Progress Association designed to honour the role sheep have played in the history of South Australia's mid-north. The event will run for a week from Wednesday 15th September to Tuesday 22nd September - the Spring Equinox.Special events will be run at two major historical sheep grazing homesteads - Bungaree Station and Martindale Hall. There is a woolen products exhibition being held on Sunday 19th in Auburn.The Watervale Hotel has two events. The first is a Sunday 'Political Roast' on the 20th were a whole lamb will be roasted with Nicola Palmer and her team serving the beast nose to tail for guests. The lamb will not be the only one roasted. The event will also be a political roast featuring Federal Senators from both sides of politics, but three things in common - love of wine, the Clare Valley, and tourism. The event will feature wines from Shadow Tourism Minister Don Farrell and Kirrihill Wines Chaired by former Liberal Senator Sean Edwards. COVID-19 restrictions permitting, the event will be MC'd by another Clare boy, Rob Geddes, Master of Wine.On Tuesday 22nd September, Penobscot Farm will host a Farm Tour and permaculture discussion before a Spring Equinox Degustation feast at the Watervale Hotel matched to Kilikanoon Wines. Kilikanoon will celebrate its relationship with the Watervale sub-appellation and demonstrate the evolution of wine style, showing Riesling, Grenache, Shiraz, and Cabernet from Watervale which includes museum wines, trophy winners and a couple of wines yet to be released.Importantly lambs for both roasts will be supplied by Martindale Farm, selected for ethical farming practices through processing at Menzels Meats…

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The Clare Valley – Celebrating Diversity

The Clare Valley is one of the most diverse wine regions, and tourism destinations in the world. We enjoy and celebrate diversity on so many levels – climatic, geological and geographical, grape varieties and wine styles, farming, cultural and tourist destinations. The Clare Valley is a tapestry of villages, a patchwork of farms, and offers surprises around every corner. From a wine perspective it is the appellation of a thousand terroir. Climate – delivers ‘powerful yet elegant’ wines. Being a temperate climate the seasons are quite pronounced in the Clare Valley. The average summer temperature is around 30 degrees. It can get very hot during Summer, sometimes above 40 degrees, but it is a dry heat. The average night time temperature in Summer is more like 14 degrees. Winter is very different with average maximum temperature of 14 degrees, getting down to around 3 degrees, and sometimes below zero, overnight. Both Spring and Autumn days are largely lovely days in the low or mid 20’s, and the diurnal temperature difference is around 15 degrees, and can often be 20 degrees. Combined with largely dry Autumns this is perfect conditions for farming of all kinds, and in particular wine grapes. The warm days from bud burst in September through to harvest in around March ensures that grapes are ripe with powerful varietal character. The cool nights mean that there is high levels of retained natural acid. Wines of Clare are therefore both powerful and elegant – ideal for food accompaniment. This combination of ripe fruit and long natural acidity is perfect for quality Riesling. You can see it in the glass. However this characteristic is apparent in all…

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