I do this blog for fun, the wines here are some of the very few I can be bothered to write up. The cream has risen.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Clare Valley - on your bike!

I'm off to the Clare again next weekend and decided it's about time I wrote about my last trip there when we rode the Riesling Trial. We won't be on our bikes this time as it's mid winter, and whilst it's likely the weather would be fine enough to ride we're not going to gamble on it.

So, what is the Riesling Trail anyway? It's a bicycle trail and a set of loops within the Clare Valley, see this brochure for more details. It's called the Riesling Trail because that is what the region is most famous for, and rightly so as the trophy below proves, but there are also some great Chardonnays too, and more importantly some brilliant red wines, particularly Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The main trail between Clare and Auburn is a very easy ride as the trail follows the defunct train line path, and trains aren't too good with rolling hills so the trail is quite flat.

The views from the trail are brilliant, and for the most part it's a very safe ride with no cars to contend with. You're often riding with the vineyards on both sides of you, or amongst the shadey gum trees that line a lot of the trail.


There's also a few bridges across the more major roads. The one below goes across Quarry Rd.

The path we took was starting near Kirrihill and Tim Adams, we rode down to Penwortham via Sevenhill Cellars. Then we did the John Horrocks loop, which is along the country roads which are quite winding and you need to be careful of traffic, and also be aware that loop has some quite steep sections where the kids needed to walk their bikes at times.

One side benefit of travelling that pathing is the trail from Clare towards Penwortham is ever so slightly uphill, you don't really notice it on the way south but coming home after those hills near Skillogalee and Jeanneret we were able to rest our legs since we hardly had to pedal at all.

The negative thing about riding your bike when wine tasting is that you really can't purchase the wines there and then. What I did was make careful notes, flagging any wines I wanted to buy, and dropped in with the car the next day on the way home. Please don't abuse the hospitality of the wineries by using the bikes as an excuse not to buy, most can freight your wine for you at a pretty cheap rate.

It's hard to highlight wineries as they were all great, but Cardinham Estate, Pauletts, Sevenhill Cellars and Crabtree stood out in my mind for various reasons that trip. I do suggest you skip the wineries owned by the corporates since you can buy their mass produced stuff much cheaper from the supermarket chains. Instead try to visit the smaller wineries making higher quality wines that have some character and life in them.

I'll try to be good and post more on the upcoming trip.

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