Three wines from the Adelaide Hills

The vineyard altitudes range from about 300 to 550 metres in the Adelaide Hills.
The vineyard altitudes range from about 300 to 550 metres in the Adelaide Hills. Photo: iStock

The Adelaide Hills is Adelaide's closest wine region, a small but compact region of mainly boutique and micro-boutique vineyards and wineries. The vineyard altitudes range from about 300 to 550 metres, the highest being excellent for sparkling wines that are among Australia's finest, the lowest being warmer and good for ripening shiraz, cabernet and – increasingly – the Italian and Mediterranean varieties. These include fiano, vermentino, arneis, nebbiolo, nero d'avola and more. Sauvignon blanc is the most prevalent grape, with 35 per cent of the vine area. Pinot noir is next, producing sparkling, dry white and rosé wines. Chardonnay and pinot gris figure strongly, plus the Austrian white grape grüner veltliner.

Pike & Joyce Descente Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Adelaide Hills, $26

Score: 94

This won the trophy for the best sauvignon blanc at the 2020 Australian and New Zealand Boutique Wine Awards, judged late last year in Sydney.

The colour is appropriately pale and the aromas are lightly yeasty – typical of a new white wine – plus attractively ripe gooseberry-ish varietal fruit. There's no greenness. It has the gentlest touch of sweetness and the taste is deliciously fruity and soft, delicate and refined. An excellent example of Aussie savvy. Suits Nicoise salad. (Screw-cap.)

Alcohol: 12.5 per cent

Ageing: Drink now to four years.

Stockists: Armadale Cellars (Vic.), Kent Street Cellars, Sydney;

Geoff Hardy Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Adelaide Hills, $25 

Geoff Hardy fields a breathtakingly wide range of wines that offer good value for money. They are mostly grown on his extensive K1 Vineyard at Kuitpo in the Adelaide Hills.

Score: 90


This cabernet has a deep-ish red-purple colour, bright and youthful, and smells quite savoury – of briary underbrush and dried-herb aromas. It has richness and medium to full body, red and darker fruit flavours, and is compact and harmonious with balanced tannins and acidity. Oak is tucked discreetly into the background. A very good wine and great value. Try it with wiener schnitzel. (Cork.)

Alcohol: 13.5 per cent

Ageing: Drink now to eight years.


Sidewood Oberlin Pinot Noir 2019, Adelaide Hills, $40

Score: 94

The name of this limited production wine refers to the Oberlin clone of pinot noir. Just 250 dozen were bottled and the wine was 100 per cent whole-bunch fermented.

It has a strongly stem/whole-bunch ferment bouquet as expected, with dominant aromas of underbrush, humus and tobacco, developing more and more dried-flower perfumes as it airs. The texture is soft and gentle, mellow and ready to drink, with deceptive long persistence. It seems prematurely developed but is a delicious drink. Good with quail. (Screw-cap.)

Alcohol: 13.5 per cent

Ageing: Drink now to eight years.


Stockists: Parkhill Cellars, North Melbourne (Vic.); Porters Liquor, Northwood & Prince Wine Store, Zetland (NSW);