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JOHN ROZENTALS looks forward to a closer look at McLaren Vale’s new architectural masterpiece.

January 2, 2018 Beverage No Comments Email Email

Well, one if the wine world’s most spectacular buildings — and I’m sure also one of the architectural world’s most awaited — is open to the public.

I’m taking about The d’Arenberg Cube, set like a huge Rubik’s cube above the company’s vines at McLaren Vale, on the outskirts of Adelaide.

The five-storey building offers the optical illusion of floating in the vineyard, has unique folding origami-like doors, and offers spectacular views of the surrounding rolling hills of Willunga from each level.

The idea for the building came to winemaker Chester Osborn — he of the incredibly loud shirts and a plethora of highly imaginative wine names —back in 2003, in a cerebral moment inspired by the puzzles of winemaking.

The Cube contains a new cellar door, a restaurant, private function areas and numerous artworks displayed under the somewhat mysterious title ‘The Alternate Realities Museum’.

The cellar door is open daily from 10am to 5pm, with the $10 entry fee including a standard tasting experience. There is an option to upgrade to one of several premium tasting flights.

The restaurant is open for lunch from Thursday to Sunday and offers seasonally changing degustation menus and an extensive wine list. Two level of degustation dining are available, priced at $150 and $190, with different level of wine matches for both, including a non-alcoholic pairing.

The existing restaurant, D’Arry’s Verandah, which has grown into something of a McLaren Vale institution, will continue to serve lunch daily.

I eagerly await an opportunity to revisit d’Arenberg and to meet The Cube.



D’Arenberg 2017 Stephanie The Gnome with Rose-Tinted Glasses Sangiovese Shiraz Rosé ($18): A mouthful of a name, even by Chester Osborn’s standards, and a mouthful of flavour, too. Lots of strawberry and confectionary flavours but essentially a dry wine that is a fine summer drink on its own or with lightly flavoured alfresco dishes.

D’Arenberg 2013 The Derelict Vineyard Grenache ($29): I’m a great fan of grenache, especially grenache made from old vines grown in warm climates such as McLaren Vale and the Barossa. So are Chester Osborn and his father d’Arry, who bought up a lot of grenache vines when they were extremely unpopular in McLaren Vale and being threatened with the chop. It’s full-bodied, it’s juicy, it’s delicious. A great red to drink with a summer barbecue.

Azahara NV Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir ($15): A very handy mid-priced bubbly from the enormous Wingara Wine group, which has at its pinnacle the prestigious and classy Katnook Coonawarra brand. I like the wine’s freshness, its citrus fruit flavours and touch of yeastiness. The name, incidentally, derives from the Spanish for ‘orange blossom’, after the trees which are also grown on the company’s vineyards near Mildura.

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