McLaren Vale & surrounds, SA

Nine top SA white wines & their wineries

By Jacqueline Alanne

September 11, 2020 | 6 minute read

South Australian wine regions are world class, and world famous - but arguably known for their red wines, rather than their whites. If you ask any local however, they’ll be happy to suggest to you more than a handful of delicious local whites for your drinking pleasure! Here are some of the current best South Australian white wines that are making waves, or proving their value, vintage after vintage.

* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.

Coriole 2018 Prosecco

A perfectly refreshing local version of the Italian sparkling wine, Coriole’s 2018 Prosecco is made for Australian summers. With delicate floral notes, a bright natural acidity and soft citrus flavours, their offering is crisp, dry and light. making it inoffensive to a young palate, but also a great aperitif for the more dedicated wine drinker. 

Cellar Door 79 Chaffeys Road, McLaren Vale

Sidewood 2018 Sauvignon Blanc

Even those vehemently opposed to Sauvignon Blanc on principal will be won over by this bright, fruity wine. The lemony acidity paired with mouth-filling passionfruit notes aren’t weighted down by that familiar Savvy B aftertaste, but rather offset by an intriguing minerality. Best enjoyed at their Adelaide Hills cellar door while smacking a few golf balls at their casual driving range, or at home with fish tacos. 

Cellar Door 15 Onkaparinga Valley Road, Verdun 

Murdoch Hill 2018 Sulky Blanc

This mouthful of fun from Woodside combines Riesling with 15% Pinot Gris for a bit of extra structure and flavour diversity. Part of their Artisan range, each of these wines are named after a different type of horse-drawn carriage, in tribute to their grandfather, an avid collector. Using skin contact techniques, this guy has depth and personality, and hangs around. So many food pairing options on the cards for this guy! 

Cellar Door 260 Mappinga Rd, Oakbank 

Sidewood
Sidewood

Jim Barry Watervale Riesling

If you haven’t been lucky enough to experience any previous vintages of this wine, never fear - it is a true classic, whetting the palates of South Australians since 1974. One of the best Rieslings coming out of the Clare Valley, who are well-known for the drop as it stands, the Watervale Riesling grows on a particular plot next to the Watervale village, year in and year out. 2018 delivers an array of citrus on the palate with what is becoming trademark blossom on the nose. 

The wine is not only very affordable, at just $20 a bottle, but barely a year goes by that it doesn’t win a Trophy among an array of Gold medals - for 2018 it was a Trophy at the Queensland Wine show. 

Cellar Door 33 Craig Hill Road, Clare

S.C. Pannell 2018 ‘Fifi’ Fiano

Named after the winemaker’s Mermaid-esque, beach loving wife, you’ll want to get your hands on it for the label alone! We jest - this McLaren Vale Fiano is right on trend with the handful of McLaren Vale winemakers daring to produce a warm climate white. The result: A medium-bodied white of moderate acidity and ample length. A real basketful of flavours are layered up in this bottle - you’ll enjoy picking them apart alongside a seafood feast!

Cellar Door 60 Olivers Road, McLaren Vale

Parker Coonawarra Estate Chardonnay

While not every vintage is made using the same techniques, every vintage of Parker Chardonnay is certainly worth a look. Using the same plot of Coonawarra Chardonnay fruit, with varying intensities of time, French oak and malolactic fermentation, the result is invariably a chardonnay with a combined dose of fruity and nutty flavours - without the pineapple lolly vibe that alienates so many of us. Buy a case now and drink a bottle every six months for the next six years, and watch the flavours develop.

Cellar Door 15688 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra

Chaffey Bros
Chaffey Bros

Chaffey Bros 2018 TripelPunkt 

These crafty brothers are no strangers to creating whites to stimulate not only the palate, but also the mind. TripelPunkt combines Riesling grapes from three Eden valley plots to create a Trifecta of Riesling flavour, texture and balance. If you like this wine, Riesling lovers rejoice! - and make sure you try their other equally fascinating whites, which in different balances work to champion Riesling and the purity of a well-tended grape vine. Hurrah! 

Collaborative Cellar door Taste Eden Valley 6 Washington Street, Angaston

Tim Adams Pinot Gris

If you are partial to a little stone fruit, every vintage of this Clare Valley Pinot Gris from Tim Adams is sure to please. Rather than stripping down the colour through the winemaking process, the Tim Adams team choose to retain the natural goldy, pinky hue of the Gris grape, working to accentuate the natural flavour, and provide depth through texture. Rich in fruit, while sessionable, this Pinot Gris is far from spiritless and watery. Enjoy it young with Asian food and spice! 

Cellar Door Warenda Road, Clare

Deviation Road Altair Brut Rosé

Technically it’s pink, but made in the classic Sparkling style with a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Sourced from Lenswood and Piccadilly in the Adelaide Hills, after it’s hand picked in the vineyard and whole-bunch pressed, the undergoes a lengthy winemaking process. Adding a small percentage of the red Pinot Noir to the fermented clear base wine makes for a rose-tinged drop, with extra fruit complexity the result on the palate, with not only the delicious lemon flavours of a Blanc de blancs, but the addition of strawberry and red berries. 

Carefully crafted but with a very accessible price point of just $35, there’s room for this beauty for your next celebration or sashimi feast! 

Cellar Door 207 Scott Creek Road, Longwood 

So there you have it - whites of exemplary quality can be found right across the South coast, if you dare to venture. While we recommend a trip to cover these wineries and taste their wines at the best place, the source, all of these varietals are available at the wineries’ online stores.Try before you visit and create a route based upon your favourites!

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