The beautiful Clare Valley is one of the oldest wine regions in Australia and is located approximately 1.5 hours drive north of Adelaide. The region itself is home to around fifty wineries and is best known for its Riesling varieties; Mitchell Wines is one such winery. Mitchell Wines, nestled away in the town of Sevenhill, is a small family owned and operated winery. The Mitchell family moved to Clare in 1949 and twenty six years later Andrew and his wife Jane produced their first vintage in an old stone apple store shed… and, well the rest is history! Adelaide Food Central was lucky enough to be invited to Mitchell Wines for a unique and exclusive wine and pizza pairing showcasing their namesake range of wines.
To begin our tastings we were treated to a glass of the Sparkling Peppertree Shiraz, a blend of over twenty vintages of Peppertree Vineyard Shiraz that undergo a secondary fermentation process. What stood out to me was the Shiraz’s wonderfully light effervescence and was my pick of the crop (no pun intended). Served slightly chilled this sparkling Shiraz is perfect for the upcoming summer months. The Shiraz was accompanied by a delicious homemade beetroot and horseradish dip, dukkah and some of the best home grown olives I have tasted. I was told that the olives and olive oil can on occasion be purchased at the cellar door.
The wine and pizza pairing kicked off with the Semillon, a full-bodied white with citrus and lemongrass aromas, accompanied by a creamy base pizza topped with locally-sourced halloumi, mushrooms and home grown walnuts and wild rocket. We were fortunate enough to try both the current 2013 vintage and an aged 2004 vintage, which had another level of complexity about it. Both delicious in their own rights.
We then moved on to the second white variety in our pizza and wine flight, the 2015 Watervale Riesling which was teamed with what Jane called a vegetarian ‘Vietnamese salad’ pizza. This pizza was one of the most colourful pizzas I have seen and was topped with thinly sliced red cabbage, carrot, red onion, celery, spring onion, fresh mint and coriander, crunchy peanut clusters and fused together by a chilli lime dressing. The Riesling with its intense citrus aromas and dry, crisp finish worked seamlessly with the spicy dressing.
Our third wine and pizza pairing was the 2011 Grenache Mataro and ‘meat lovers’ pizza. This pizza consisted of a traditional tomato base topped with a range of locally-sourced smoked meats, including salami and ham, finished with bocconcini and basil leaves. I learnt that the Grenache Mataro is a very versatile blend that can be warming in winter but can also be served chilled in the summer months. I loved the lightness of the Grenache Mataro and to use the words of Jane this wine has a “high evaporation factor” if you catch my drift.
Next was the well-known Peppertree Vineyard Shiraz (current vintage 2012); a very deep crimson red colour displaying ripe berry notes. This wine was matched with an ‘escalivada’ pizza with the likes of grilled eggplant, olives, capers, artichoke hearts and semi-dried tomatoes, all held together with lashings of gooey mozzarella cheese.
We rounded out the pairings with the latest release 2008 Sevenhill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Personally I have never been a fan of Cab Sav’s and always tend to choose a Shiraz but Andrew informed me that they are best aged for 8-9 years, which probably explains why I thoroughly enjoyed this particular vintage of Cab Sav. Interestingly Mitchell Wines only release their wines once they are suitably aged. This bold red with strong berry and oak flavours was complemented by a lamb sausage pizza with shiitake and button mushrooms and thyme. I don’t mean to detract from the star of this pairing, the Cabernet Sauvignon, but I will definitely be making a trip back to Clare to visit the local butcher, as I have never tasted such a flavoursome lamb sausage.
The culinary matchings didn’t stop there as we moved on to dessert. Delicious homemade mini meringues with lemon curd and fresh cream were cleverly paired with a glass of the Noble Semillon, a classic botrytis dessert wine that was lavishly sweet.
We washed our lunch down with a final few tastings in their cellar door, which is open every day from 10am until 4pm with bottles ranging in price from $18 to $45. Here we sampled some of the McNicol range of wines and an Old Liqueur Riesling. Given that all Mitchell Wines varieties are such easy-drinking, high-quality table wines I was spoilt for choice. With a difficult decision ahead I finally decided on purchasing a bottle each of the Sparkling Peppertree Shiraz, Semillon and Grenache Mataro to enjoy in the comfort of my own home. Having never previously visited the Clare Valley region I can honestly say I can’t wait to go back and visit more of what the region has to offer! Next time you are in Clare pop in and visit Andrew, Jane and the rest of the Mitchell family and try their collection of specialist wines.
All in all the day was well spent eating and drinking in the glorious summer weather whilst learning about the beginnings of Mitchell Wines and how each individual blend is crafted. Adelaide Food Central would like to sincerely thank the entire Mitchell family for hosting lunch at their picturesque vineyard, their warm hospitality and more importantly for making us feel part of the family.
Words by Kelly Betterman
WHERE: 246 Hughes Park Rd, Sevenhill