1) Maximilian’s Restaurant, Sidewood Estate, Adelaide Hills
Get a flavour for the Adelaide Hills at Maximilian’s restaurant, the jewel in the crown of the award-winning Sidewood winery. Divide your admiration between the lake and vineyard – both of which can be spied from your table – and the intriguing dishes: starters of roasted baby carrots, spiced dukkah, carrot ketchup, buttermilk and curry leaves, or South Australia octopus carpaccio with saffron rouille, fennel, orange, green chilli and soft herbs; mains of Coonawarra sirloin with charred cos, rosemary ash, melted anchovy onions and red wine jus; a dessert that combines candied pistachio, a Belgium chocolate bar, popcorn ice-cream, honeycomb and sugared mint. The cool-climate wines are equally impressive: toast your companion with a Sidewood sparkling, or enjoy the delicious sauvignon blanc. For maximum oohs and aahs, opt for the chef’s degustation menu.
2) Pike & Joyce, Adelaide Hills
Pike & Joyce has plenty of tricks up its sleeve: in addition to incredibly tasty sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, chardonnay, gruner veltliner, rosé and pinot noir, the winery serves up interesting art via regular exhibitions and delicious food via the excellent restaurant. Pike & Joyce’s clever chef changes the menu weekly; previous plates have featured roasted kangaroo fillet with spiced macadamia, red amaranth, native finger lime, heirloom baby carrots and thyme oil, and pan-seared salmon with freekeh, charred leeks, pink grapefruit, Barossa chorizo, shaved fennel, parsley and chervil salad. There’s also a modern tasting room with full-length glass windows, so you can toast the very hills your grapes were picked from.
3) The Lane Vineyard, Adelaide Hills
The Lane is as rooted in family values as it is in its setting – it’s run by a husband-and-wife team and their two handy sons. The winery is perched high in the Adelaide Hills, a short drive from the village of Hahndorf. Discover South Australia’s edible bounty with help from the Dining Room restaurant: put your trust in chef James Brinklow and opt for the Chef’s Table experience. You’ll sit at the end of the kitchen pass and be treated to a menu that’s devised that very day and matched to the best wines.
4) Paracombe Wines, Adelaide Hills
Paracombe is another stellar family-run winery set in scenic surroundings. The chardonnay is particularly delicious, but they also make an excellent pinot gris, riesling and sauvignon blanc, plus cabernet sauvignon, malbec, pinot noir, shiraz and tempranillo. Husband-and-wife team Paul and Kathy Drogemuller are in charge; lending the estate a relaxed, welcoming and informal feel.
5) Bird in Hand Winery, Adelaide Hills
See why Bird in Hand was named ‘Australian Winemaker of the Year’ in 2014 and 2015 by paying a trip to its winsome nest in the Adelaide Hills. The eye-pleasing branding and bottles are no accident – the team behind Bird have a soft spot for art and design, and have even created a line of luxury accessories, home goods and tabletop treasures. This sociable, fun-loving, creative and innovative winery runs a farm-to-table restaurant and sipping cellar, and hosts some of Australia’s favourite musicians for outdoor concerts at the farm. Intoxicating.
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