The Clare Valley Wine Region in South Australia is located about just over a hundred kilometres north of Adelaide. It stretches from Auburn in the south through the villages of Leasingham, Penwortham and Watervale and on beyond the township of Clare in the north.
The history of this region is nearly as long as that of the nearby Barossa Region. The first vineyard, at Sevenhill, was planted by Jesuits in the 1840's and is still in production.
The Clare Valley region is really a series of north-south ridges and valleys with considerable variation in topography and microclimate. There are three unofficial sub-regions, the Polish Hill River region to the east, the Central Clare Valley, and the Skillogalee Valley to the west.
The region produces much better cool climate wines than its location and raw climatic data suggest. On paper the region looks to have a warm to hot viticultural environment. In his book Viticulture and Environment, John Gladstones devotes considerable space to exploring the reasons why the various microclimates around Clare are much better for the production of table wines than for fortified styles.
The Clare Valley wine region is most famous for its crisp Rieslings and is now recognised, both in Australia and internationally as the premium region for dry wines from that variety. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec are used to make impressive dry red wines here as well. As in many South Australian wine regions Grenache is used as a blending component of red wines and occasionally as a straight varietal.
To add to the regional diversity in 2010 Jim Barry Wines became the first Australian vineyard to establish the Greek variety Assyrtiko.
This region is just an hour and a half drive north of Adelaide, not much further north than its better known neighbour the Barossa valley.
There are many accommodation options including quite a few restored cottages in the villages and vineyards around Clare.
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