For generations, d’Arenberg winery has been an icon and shining example of the Mclaren Vale wine region. It has a rich history and boasts a proud tradition of family based business, whilst continuing to push the envelope and be a pioneer in modern-day wine making.
The “d’Arry’s Verandah” restaurant has quite the stellar reputation; and this week I was able to see why for myself.
The restaurant splits in two levels; on the Verandah itself, and indoors with wall to wall glass windows. Both overlooking the southern vales and vineyards of McLaren Vale. Perched up on high ground, the views are spectacular. And then; there’s the food.
To start we shared Crumbed and fried Willunga olives, stuffed with almonds and served with a lime aioli dipping sauce. Sooooooooooooooooo good. Crunchy, zingy, and just the right amount of salty. These tasty delights were paired with the ‘Pollyanna’ sparkling white NV.
The olives were accompanied by house-made bread and butter, which really was to die for. Sit me with a loaf and a bowl, and I’d be a very happy girl.
The Amuse Bouche was a Bocadillo. A fresh, cold soup-style shot of Ajo Bianco, with a dehydrated basil leaf and pickled garlic with anchovy. Super interesting flavour combinations, and a real winner prior to the main course. Also accompanied with wine; the 2015 Sav Blanc.
For the main I couldn’t go past d’Aarry’s signature dish;
The lobster medallions with blue swimmer crab, prawn tortellini and lobster bisque. As it was elegantly placed down in front of me, the mere sight and smell of the dish had me salivating.
The taste? Oh my gosh. The lobster and tortellini were so well cooked, the contrasting textures were perfect. The bisque was so creamy, rich and delicious, it had me reaching for more bread to soak up every last drop! Even writing this right now, I reeeeeally want more. It’s a beautiful colourful dish.
To match; try the 2013 ‘Lucky Lizard’ chardonnay.
My friend enjoyed the Slow Roast pork belly, with zucchini, pea, ricotta and mint salad, with garlic potatoes. It looked amazing, and received an enthusiastic thumbs up. This was matched with the delicious 2014 ‘Custodian’ Grenache.
To cleanse the palate, we were treated to a lime and lychee sorbet, served with a shot of the ‘Monkey Spider’ Roussanne. Amazingly refreshing and Moorish, I could have eaten a tub for dessert!
But, dessert was on its way, and it did not disappoint.
We shared the 2 Signature dishes on the dessert menu:
The passionfruit soufflé with pouring cream. As soft and fluffy as a cloud, with the unmistakable flavours of fresh passionfruit, cut through with velvet smooth cream. It really was a treat. Matched perfectly with the 2015 ‘Noble Wrinkled’ Riesling.
For the chocolate lovers, the soft centred chocolate pudding, with chocolate ice cream and d’Aarry’s aero. Served on a huge plate like a work of art on canvas, the pudding was topped off with chocolate dusting, chocolate soil, and chocolate popping candy. That all may sound like a chocolate overload, but by jingo’s jocks, it was heaven. All very different forms of chocolate, and all complimentary. Brilliant. Last but not least, matched with a 2006 vintage fortified shiraz.
By this time, both stomachs were satisfied and spoilt completely! (We all know the ‘dessert stomach’ is totally a legitimate thing!)
At d’Aarry’s; chefs utilise their own vegetable and herb garden, and you can see them popping out of the kitchen to cut a sprig of rosemary or the like, which is always nice to see.
The staff are passionate and highly professional. We were served with warm, genuine smiles, and nothing was too much to ask.
d’Arenberg Winery really is much more than just a cellar door and restaurant.
The grounds are stunning, and there are plenty of little places to sit and watch the world go by, under the shade of big ol’ gum trees.
Visitors can live it up on a “Lawn Day”, by striking up a game of Bocce, ball in one hand, wine glass in the other.
There are also interactive experiences on offer, including the “Blending Bench” held in the old stables, where you can literally blend your own bottle of wine and learn all that is wine making.
I was able to play spectator for a blending bench session, and I can certainly tell you that I will be going back to experience it for myself! A lovely family were having a ball together; playing winemaker for the day with measuring jugs, apparatus, bottles of wine, tasting notes, and their trusty guide. It looked like so much fun, and I can’t wait to do it with my friends or family.
On top of all that, you must of course hit up the cellar door to sample the huge range of great wines on offer. You will not be disappointed.
Time and time again, d’Arenberg proves why it is a solid favourite.
To visit d’Arenberg Winery:
Address: Osborn Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171, Australia
Phone:+61 8 8329 4888