The McLaren Vale is one of the Adelaide’s premium wine regions, with over 120 vineyards creating countless bottles of stunning wine every year. Many of the vineyards in the McLaren Vale are traditional style vineyards with tasting rooms and cellar doors, but at d’Arenberg wines they have tried something different. For those who want a McLaren Vale Wine Tasting with a difference, d’Arenberg have opened up a brand new wine experience, called the d’Arenberg Cube.
McLaren Vale Wine Tasting with a Difference
The McLaren Vale is located about 45 minutes south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula, and with over 120 vineyards and more than 80 cellar doors you have a colossal range of wines to taste. I’ve previously visited some fantastic vineyards in the McLaren Vale such as Fox Creek, the home of the award winning Short Row Shiraz which I first sampled on Qatar Airways business class on my way to Australia on a previous visit. On this trip I decided to visit d’Arenberg who have a cellar door which is quite different to the many traditional cellar doors which you will find in the McLaren Vale. The d’Arenberg Cube is something quite unusual and I was quite intrigued to visit to find out more.
Visiting The d’Arenberg Cube
Located in the heart of the McLaren Vale, surrounded by endless green vineyards is a five storey high Rubik’s Cube, known as the d’Arenberg Cube. The Cube, as it is known locally, can be seen for miles around and is quite an abstract building for its rural location. Upon arrival I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was greeted at the door by a member of staff who explained it was a ‘wine experience’ which intrigued me.
Tickets for the wine experience cost just $10, so I paid and went in. There was a small group of people waiting just inside, and the first stop on the tour was a room full of wine-related artefacts, and the group were given a brief history of the vineyard, and how the cube came to be. Following this was a room full of small horn-like bottles on the walls, each with a different smell inside. These are all the aromas which you can expect to find in d’Arenbergs extensive range of wines.
Next we entered a 360 degree cinema, with abstract cartoons playing all around. I was confused at first, but then I realised we were being shown the stories of all the characters which are on d’Arenberg’s wine bottles. On this level there is also an art gallery, and a lift where you can go straight to the top, where they have a fantastic tasting room, or you can stop off on the first floor to visit their famous toilets! As well as this, the Cube also houses many bars and public and private tasting rooms.
McLaren Vale Wine Tasting
I have been on many McLaren Vale Wine Tasting trips on past visits to Adelaide and I’ve found it hard to find a wine in the McLaren Vale which I dislike, which was also the case at d’Arenberg. d’Arenberg’s tasting room is located on the top floor and laid out into small areas where you can taste at your leisure, or at the circular bar in the centre of the room. The room has an eclectic mix of furniture in a range of bright vibrant colours, much like the decor which can be seen during the rest of the cube experience.
The tasting room also has the added bonus of having fantastic panoramic views in all directions, with small balconies around the room where you can go outside and enjoy the views across the McLaren Vale and out to the Ocean.
With such an extensive range of wines to choose from, it was difficult to decide which wines to sample (I doubt if even the most seasoned wine lovers would get more than half way through). I started by sampling a few of their wines, in particular their Sauvignon Blancs and Reislings, before moving onto a sample of their delicious reds, in particular their Shirazs and Shiraz blends and then ending with their red sparkling wine, fortified Shiraz and their Tawny.
The Toilets in the Cube
During your visit to the Cube you really should pay a visit to the toilets on the first floor, even if you don’t need to go, you must pay a visit! In particular, you should visit the men’s room – don’t worry there was a constant flow of women sneaking in when there were no men around. Why you might be asking yourself? Below is just a sneaky preview of what you might find…
Lunch at d’Arenberg
There are a choice of dining options at d’Arenberg should you wish to stop for some lunch, from the restaurant in the cube where lunch menus start at $190pp with wine pairing also available. There is also d’Arry’s Verandah where you can choose from either their à la carte menu, their 8 course set menu or if you are looking for something less formal there is also a menu of snacks and sharing platters. On my visit we just had a sharing platter between three of us, so I can’t comment on the set menu options or the à la carte menu. The sharing platter wasn’t a sharing platter like I have ever had before. Rather than a set platter, you can pick the elements you want on your platter from the list. This was a nice idea but it did end up being much more expensive than platters I have had before at vineyards while McLaren Vale wine tasting.
I had a great day wine tasting at the d’Arenberg Cube: the experience of the Cube was very different to any wine tasting I had done before and the wines were fantastic. The platter for lunch was nice, even though it was quite expensive. I would visit d’Arenberg again next time I’m McLaren Vale wine tasting, however I would probably combine my visit with some other vineyards in the area and try somewhere else for lunch.