Barossa Valley in South Australia is the primary wine-producing region in Australia. So it makes sense that Adelaide, the state's capital city, would house Australia's National Wine Centre. For oenophiles, it's a must-visit. I mean, there's 120 wines to sample in just one spot. ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY WINES. We went nuts. We love Australian shiraz for its big bold peppery flavours, so this was practically like a pilgrimage for us:- the National Wine Centre was our first stop immediately after touching down in Adelaide.
You can stroll along the gardens adjacent to the sprawling complex, the gorgeous grounds frequently host weddings in the Spring. Or you can take a tour of the building itself, and learn about the history of wine in South Australia, the wine making process, yadda yadda yadda. OR you can make like us, skip all that dribble and head straight to Wined Bar. Because, tasting room.
So, you go to the cashier counter, ask for a card which allows you to swipe the Enomatic wine dispensing machines, and then proceed to the wine of choice to dispense a tasting portion, or half/full pours. Operating the machine is idiot-proof really, but feel free to ask for help from the counter anytime..no judgment! You get the glasses from the shelves above the wine machines. There was no way-jose we could sample everything and still walk away in one piece, so we asked the very knowledgeable staff to help streamline the varietals, by recommending the bestsellers, award-winners, and her personal favourites.
We needed to drive back to the hotel after, so we ordered a few bites. You know, to soak up all that booze.
A crowd-favourite, the Mix-and-Match Charcuterie Platter ($18) was loaded with Mt. Compass' Mt Jagged Cheddar Red Wax, Prosciutto & Smoked Chorizo from Adelaide Hills Artisan Small Goods, and sided by house-baked bread, quince paste, pate, Adelaide Plains olives, muscatel raisins, and lavosh. So simple and so so good!
For sure a must-try, the Grilled Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad (A$19) was dotted with smoked buttered corn, citrus broccolini, crispy kale, a 60C egg, seasoned with fresh mint and dill, and drizzled with a sunflower oil dressing. It was a riot of piquant and sweet and bitter flavours, and the contrast of crunchy, soft and slurry textures was absolutely delightful. This was very possibly the best salad I've ever had in my life. You wouldn't think a salad would be this insanely good, but I swear I'm still salivating over this. So. Freaking. Good.
The Asian-inspired Poached Atlantic Salmon (A$26) was stacked with coconut rice noodles slicked in a punchy lime vinaigrette seasoned with fresh chilli, mint, purple Thai basil and crispy shallots, and topped with blanched boy choy and beansprouts.
The only lackluster dish was the Wagyu Beef Minute Steak Sandwich (A$19) layered with baby cos lettuce and slapped between sourdough bread topped with melted Jarlsberg cheese. The beef was dry and overdone, and that was let everything else down. The Indian-style house-made piccalilli was robust, and the potato crisps was the best part of this disappointment.
Best adult playground ever. In my next life as an obscenely rich person, I would very much like a wine cellar just like this.
The entrance to the National Wine Centre.
The architectural masterpiece is set next to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, and a small vineyard.
National Wine Centre
Cnr Hackney Road & Botanic Road
Adelaide South Australia SA 5000
Tel: +61 8 8313 3355
Open Mondays to Thursdays from 8am to 6pm;
Fridays 8am to 9pm;
Saturdays from 9am to 9pm;
Sundays & Public Holidays from 9am to 6pm