Clare Valley, take 2

On Wednesday, May 4, we visited the Clare Valley’s oldest winery, Sevenhill.

Sevenhill was founded by Austrian Jesuits who came to South Australia as chaplains to a group of 130 Catholics, who were fleeing from political and religious oppression. The immigrants settled near the township of Clare, impressed by the fertility of the soil, and purchased 100 acres of land in 1851, naming it Sevenhill, after the Seven Hill district of Rome. Pictured here is St. Aloysuis' Church, made from local stone, and completed in 1875. We also toured its crypt, the only one below a parish church in Australia.

The tradition of making sacramental wine continues at the winery, along with premium table wine production. 

Some of the vines on the property are up to 140 years old.

 This spider liked the old vines.  We saw these buggers all over the vineyards and wineries we visited:

Fortunately, no one tried to spook me while I was taking this photo.

After our tour of the Sevenhill grounds, we attended a “Clare Valley Regional Heroes Master Class”, where we had an in-depth presentation on the region and sampled current-release and aged Rieslings and Shiraz.

My favorite current release Riesling was the 2010 Grosset Polish Hill; pretty orange blossom and cantaloupe notes, some herbaceousness and tons of minerality. My favorite with some age was the 2006 Paulett's Reserve; incredibly concentrated with lemon head candies and lovely petrol notes.

Not many people think of Clare when they think of Shiraz, but they should.  Two standouts for me were the 2008 Mitchell Peppertree from Watervale; savory, bacon, floral, olive, elegant black fruits and the 2006 Jim Barry Armagh; nutty spice, scrubby earth and pie-filling fruit.

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