The Clare Valley is one of Australia's oldest wine growing regions. With its unique climate and mineral rich soils, the Clare Valley - some 150km north of Adelaide - is not only known for its outstanding riesling, but also its intensely flavoured reds.
The quirky history of the Clare Valley
The first vines of the Clare Valley were planted in 1840 by a gentleman explorer named John Horrocks, who settled at modern day Pentworth. Soon after, the main towns of Clare and Auburn were settled. As the population in the valley grew, it became essential to survey the region. Many of the roads that remain today were laid out by an urban planner who was based in an office in Adelaide. Having never set foot in this beautiful, but geologically diverse landscape, he simply drew lines on a map where he thought the roads should go. Unfortunately, he didn’t consider some of the rugged terrain. As a result there are obscure roads throughout the Clare that come to an abrupt end at the bases of cliffs, only to continue again at the top. This local legend is the inspiration behind a range of Clare Valley wines called Nowhere Road.
An optimal climate for winemaking
Nestled into the northern extent of the Mount Lofty ranges, the Clare Valley extends some 35km, running north to south and dotted with historic towns. Either side of the valley, the hills rise to a height of 600 metres. Combined with the relative proximity to the Spencer Gulf to the west and the St Vincent Gulf to the southwest, the hot summer days of the Clare are contrasted by its cool nights. This difference between the daytime and evening temperatures allows the grapes to slowly ripen and develop fine acid.
Flavours formed by the diverse terroir
The soil of the Clare Valley ranges from the famous terra rossa soils near Auburn in the south, to the shallow, loamy soils and sandy, less fertile soils near Armagh. There are 11 different soil types that give a diverse influence of minerality to the region’s wines. It’s this blend of proximity to the sea, vineyards planted on relatively high elevation and massive variations in soil types that give the Clare Valley its unique terroir. It’s the reason why Clare Valley wines are so respected and so easy to enjoy.
The Clare Valley is synonymous with great riesling, and Nowhere Road Riesling is a classic example that is fragrantly perfumed and offers intense citrus notes of grapefruit, lemon and lime, along with delicate floral aromas. Fresh citrus acidity, with a touch of minerality on the palate, creates a seamless texture with a crisp yet delicate finish. With its minerality and citrus notes, this is a great wine to offer with seafood dishes, such as South Australian oysters topped with pearls of finger lime. Offer it with a dish of sweet Spencer Gulf prawns cooked over the hibachi or chargrill and finished with a squeeze of lemon. Pour a glass to serve with succulent flounder or grilled turbot with a butter sauce – the clean acidity of this wine will cut through the richness of the flesh and dairy. Those lemon and grapefruit notes will also match well with a dish of chicken marinated in lemon, garlic and oregano that’s been cooked on the grill. Or perhaps a pork loin chop, dry-brined with orange and Chinese five spice and cooked until crisp and golden in a hot oven. The options are endless with this fresh and aromatic riesling.
The Clare Valley produces excellent shiraz. Nowhere Road Shiraz is the perfect example of those warm spice notes, dark berries and violets on the nose that are famous in Clare shiraz. It’s a wine with rich red fruit intensity and a touch of dark chocolate, with integrated toasted oak and seamless tannins that create a complex and lingering finish. A classic match for Clare shiraz is Clare saltbush lamb, so serve with a slow-cooked shoulder of lamb, perhaps cooked in a salt crust. It is also a wine that’s great with dry-aged rump or sirloin steaks cooked on the grill. Those spice notes see it work well with dishes such as Mongolian beef and even a punchy dish of Sichuan chicken.
Nowhere Road offers great value wine with a level of drinking quality that over delivers. It presents an opportunity to bring a new name from a tried and tested wine region for customers to explore. Ready to drink and easy to pair with food, Nowhere Road is a cheeky brand that embraces the serious terroir of the historic Clare Valley.
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