Picture this: a calm, relaxed creek-side setting amongst gum trees in a revegetated native corridor filled with abundant wildlife. Your picnic hamper is by your side as you sit back, listen to birdsong, and sip a James Halliday 96 point rated DogRidge Cabernet. Afterwards, you wander through the Cellar Door and art gallery and settle in at the handmade refectory table to be guided through a comprehensive tasting experience. Such is the DogRidge experience, and it’s one not to be missed.
The ‘Dog Ridge’ is a very old grapevine rootstock, no longer used in modern viticulture as it is too vigorous. This remnant of wine history, combined with the fact that Jen and Dave Wright have been breeders of curly coated retrievers and live on a sandy ridge… well, the name makes sense.
DogRidge began when Jen and Dave discovered their first 40-acre vineyard in the ancient soils of McLaren Flat’s Kurrajong Formation. In 2005 Jen’s son Fred, and his wife Sarah, joined the team, with the sole ambition of making great McLaren Vale wines. Before long the Cellar Door opened, and shortly after that the art gallery did too.
The 1940s vineyard on ancient Kurrajong soil makes for wines that are heavily perfumed on the nose, with a gentle tannin. DogRidge specializes in the juicier varieties and blends that the McLaren Vale is known for. Take, for example, DogRidge’s pride and joy, its ‘Most Valuable Player’ – the 2012 Shiraz.
With an aromatic dominance of mud cake, after dinner mints and cut cedar, you know you’re in for something special.
The palate starts with a vibrant burst of dark berry fruits up front, with
a spiced Christmas cake middle and baked plums on the finish. Sounds too good to be true! But fear not, it’s the real deal. The fruit is picked super ripe and vinified in open fermenters with extended skin contact, then pressed delicately into French oak to mature for nearly three years. It’s no wonder James Halliday gave it a 95 point rating. Jen and Dave recommend you buy a bottle and enjoy it with a BBQ rib eye steak, mushrooms and red wine
DogRidge harvests from late January into March, and grows chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, shiraz, grenache, cabernet, and petit verdot grapes.
The Wrights are proud of DogRidge’s environmental record, having received property management awards for sustainability and minimal impact on the environment. These awards recognise DogRidge’s efforts at incorporating biodiversity into the vineyards, recycling of wine barrel oak and green waste, and conservation of precious water resources.
When you arrive for a tasting, you’ll be provided with Jen’s sourdough bread and Wild Tree extra virgin olive oil for dipping. Be sure to try the botrytis dessert wine, a fortified viognier, as well as the delectable produce.
Open 362 days a year, there’s never a bad time to visit DogRidge – take a picnic and make a day of it!