Of the 18 wine regions of South Australia, Adelaide Hills is one of the nation’s best cool climate zones. With over 60 wineries located just minutes from the city, Adelaide Hills stands out for its undulating terrain and hillside vineyards and orchards.
One of the oldest wine growing areas in the entire country, the Adelaide Hills wine region is nestled into the Mount Lofty Ranges region of South Australia. It’s one of the largest regions in the state, stretching from the Fleurieu Peninsula and McLaren Vale in the south, to the Barossa and Eden Valleys in the north.
Winemaking in Adelaide Hills dates back to the late 19th century, and is set across two sub-regions, those being Lenswood and Piccadilly Valley.
Adelaide Hills Grape Varieties
The most planted grape in the Adelaide Hills wine region is Sauvignon Blanc, responsible for around 30% of the region’s harvest. Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon and Pinot Noir also give a good showing, with a number of the Chardonnays going through a process known as malolactic fermentation, which adds complexity to the wine.
Being South Australia, it would be odd not to feature Shiraz on the grape list. It does have its place, although with the climate that bit cooler than other South Australian wine regions, it takes careful management and an expert choice of growing sites to ensure the fruit ripens to reveal its full flavour potential. The long, cool growing season of Adelaide Hills is better suited to ripening Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
The Adelaide Hills Wine growing climate
The success of the Adelaide Hills wine region lies in the altitude of its vineyards, ranging from 400 to 650 metres. This is what gives the region, in the context of Australia in general, a cool climate.
But it’s the valleys that make things a little more interesting. There are many dotted across this hilly terrain, and it’s the ups and downs that expose Adelaide Hills to a range of aspects and variations in its exposure to the sun. The northern part of the region tends to have mostly west facing slopes, making it cooler than the southern elevations where the coastal influences keep the temperatures a little calmer.
This is precisely why choosing the right sites for the right grapes is so important for Adelaide Hills wineries.
Popular Adelaide Hills wines
The grape ripening season in Adelaide Hills tends to be dry. Coupled with the cooler climate, this means the grapes mature at a slower pace, which results in more concentrated wines coming out of the Adelaide Hills wineries.
One of the best known Adelaide Hills wineries is Longview Vineyard. This family owned Australian vineyard sits just shy of the township of Macclesfield and is run by the Saturnos, an Italian family that has successfully brought spirited Italian winemaking to Australia.
One of our favourite Adelaide Hills wines has to be Longview Barbera, a decent medium bodied red that displays savoury notes of nutmeg, spice, rose petal and maraschino cherries.
For fans of fruity wine, a must-try has to be Longview ‘The Piece’ Shiraz. Its dark cherry, bright blackberry, anise clove and black pepper flavours make this a memorable tipple, and you’re sure to adore the graffiti-inspired label too.
If you’re one for blended reds, we reckon you’ll enjoy Longview LV, a matrimony of Shiraz and Cabernet grapes that leaves a rich, oaky finish that’s well balanced.
The Cabernet Sauvignon grape does well in the Adelaide Hills wine region, and Devil’s Elbow is a prime example. Made from grapes only grown on the estate and taking its moniker from a white knuckle stretch of road nearby, this is one of those big, bold, powerhouse wines, aged for 20 months in French oak and bursting with blackcurrant, clove, mint and toast flavours.
And if those devilish flavours sound tempting, you’ll be blown away by Longview Macclesfield Cabernet Sauvignon. This one matches the profile of Devil’s Elbow, but cunningly draws wood smoke into the mix, resulting in a full bodied, rich and creamy texture and gratifyingly long finish.
Adelaide Hills based Longview is also renowned for its whites. If you’re into your long, mineral-led finishes, then give Macclesfield Chardonnay a try. With suggestions of butterscotch, brine and ginger on the nose, a vibrant body and a rich, long finish, you’ll not forget this one in a hurry.
Longview Macclesfield Riesling is lighter with a well-balanced sweetness punctuated by aromatic notes of citrus and kaffir lime. The finish remains long and spicy, however, so you can dwell on the pleasurable experience a little whilst contemplating your next glass.
If you’re into lively whites, here’s one not to miss. Vista Grigio Grüner marries the best that Italy and Australia have to offer to produce a sprightly wine packed with aromas of pine-lime and freshly picked nettles.
Another of the Adelaide Hills wineries worth a respectful nod is La Bise. ‘La Bise’ is French for ‘the kiss’. Each vintage, this winemaker lovingly scours the Adelaide Hills for quality fruit to produce wines that are characteristic to that vineyard and communicate its unique flavours through the grapes.
Love a South Australian Shiraz? La Bise Shiraz is fruit driven Adelaide Hills wine with a bright acidity. Blackberry, dark cherry and a subtle suggestion of baking spices give it a touch of pure elegance.
Jauma is a boutique Adelaide Hills winery. Its Gentle Folk Village Shiraz is ruby red in colour, yet light and well rounded. Prepare for spice, cherry and tomato on the nose, and penetrating cherry and tomato flavours on the palate with a graceful, spicy finish.
Looking for something a little softer? Jauma Tikka the Cosmic Cat Shiraz Grenache teases candied fruit on the nose, followed by jammy notes on the palate, with hints of freshly pressed grape juice, soft spices and red clay baked earth. The light body of this wine makes it great for glugging. Be brave and try it chilled to enjoy it for all it’s worth.
Juicy, playful and lots of fun, Jauma 1000 Fires Chenin Arneis is an interesting orange-hued colour. Demonstrating a palate of white peach, pear and citrus. The colour derives from the fact this is an organic wine, unfiltered and unrefined. An experience waiting to be explored.
Fancy sampling a drop of Adelaide Hills wine?
The Oddbins Australian wine range includes a number of delicious specimens from some of the best Adelaide Hills wineries. Not sure which to choose or gift? Try our Premium South Australian wine or South Australian Adventure mixed cases which include a number of Adelaide Hills wines, or contact our helpful team for advice via Live Chat, e-mail or by calling 0800 328 23 23.