Somerled Cellar Door and Wine Bar
89 Main St, Hahndorf, South Australia
08 8388 7478
In 1908, Rob Moody’s grandfather rode Somerled to victory in the Amateur Steeplechase at the Oakbank Picnic Races, the biggest picnic race meet in the Southern Hemisphere at the time. When, more than 100 years later, Rob, along with wife Heather and daughters Emma and Lucy, opened a small cellar door on the main street of Hahndorf, there was only one name for it.
You’d be hard pressed to find someone more qualified to run a cellar door than Rob. Starting his wine adventure under Max Schubert, Senior Winemaker at Penfolds and the ‘Father of Grange’, he was soon promoted to look after all the Grange and reds in the Penfolds group. When Rob retired in 2000, he went on to become a private winemaking consultant, selling to investors in both Australia and Asia before joking about opening a cellar door in 2010. Lucy and Heather took him seriously and raced off the to the real estate agent – from there, Somerled was born.
Only available at the cellar door, Somerled’s range is small, high-end and compact. With no vineyard so to speak, they choose the best fruit from a select group of growers, sticking to the varieties they know will do well in the region.
Pinot noir grapes for its sparkling and rosé come from Paul Henschke’s vineyard in Summertown in the Adelaide Hills. As the second highest vineyard in the state, it’s crisp and cool, producing delicate dry sparkling and refreshing, pale and dry European-style rosé. Chardonnay and sauvignon blanc fruits are grown at high altitude in Charleston in the Adelaide Hills and are picked early to create delicate wines with fine acid. Somerled sources its tempranillo and shiraz from vineyards in the McLaren Vale, due to its sunny, lower altitude climate.
The flagship wine is the McLaren Vale Shiraz, a wine 40-odd years in the making. Having first worked on wines of this style at Penfolds, Rob has perfected the combination of warmth, richness and complexity expected of an award-winning drop. After sourcing the small, concentrated fruit, they are crushed and left on skins for 10 days so the juice is as ‘black as the ace of spades’. It’s matured in both new and used Hungarian, French and American barrels for two and a half years, with at least six ‘rack and returns’ – a process that involves pumping wine from the barrel, cleaning each one with a high pressure hose to clear all sediment and yeast, and then returning the wine. This ensures the wine will be stable, clean and free of anything unwanted and shows the winemaker exactly how the wine will age once bottled. The result is a dark, rich wine with chocolate undertones and clean and complex flavours.
The Cellar Door offers wine by the glass Thursday to Monday alongside a Somerled Spanish Platter: a chunk of manchego cheese, local crusty bread, local olive oil and olives, sundried figlets and warm anchovy sticks. Heather’s roasted, salted almonds served with the ‘Once Around the Track’ guided tasting sheets are becoming just as sought after as Rob’s wine. Drop in to the convivial cellar door on a Friday to celebrate the end of the week with a pre-dinner glass of wine, available until 7pm.