Maximus Wines Cellar Door

view from Maximus cellar door
Our view while eating lunch

date of visit: Saturday 20 August 2016

Following our successful visit to Tilbrook Estate, I’ve been keeping an eye out for more group buying deals to wineries. That probably puts me right up there when it comes to be tight-fisted but we’ve found that they are a great way to get us out of the house for a morning, as well as being a good way to check out some new cellar doors.

Our deal for McLaren Vale’s Maximus Wines included the usual wine offerings as well as a gourmet pie lunch. We’d met some people a little while back who had said good things about their experience at Maximus so we were looking forward to it. Also – PIE!

I’d made the mistake of not double-checking what food was available for Master 5. Even though we usually travel with food for him, extra options are always good. It turned out that gourmet pie was available which he decided he didn’t want. Only to turn around 10 minutes later and decide he did want it after all. That was a relief! We’re lucky he eats a lot and he’s not a picky eater – though Maximus Wines’ Shelley did say that if they have notice they can rustle up a cheese toastie for smaller guests.

While waiting for our pies, we tasted through the wines with our favourites ranging from the Grenache Tempranillo Rosé, the very savoury Mourvèdre, a juicy Graciano and the Cabernet Sauvignon. This is definitely red wine territory – when we were there there was just the one white at the cellar door, a Pinot Gris.

Gourmet Chicken Pie
Partly demolished chicken pie … oops!

Then it was pie time! I had chicken and white wine, Andy had beef and red wine. You can see I tucked in very enthusiastically before realising I should have taken a photo … ooops!

The pies were lovely, and thanks to our deal, came with a glass of wine so we were able to enjoy an almost leisurely lunch while all three of us munched away. The cellar door has floor to ceiling windows so you can look out at McLaren Vale while you eat. It would be perfect in miserable weather!

After lunch we picked out a few wines and also bought a bottle of gin, as Maximus is also home to Settlers Spirits. If you’re so inclined you can do a spirits tasting while you’re there and they have just released the G and Tea Breakfast Gin, for something different.

Another successful day out and Maximus is a stop I’d recommend for anyone who loves their reds.

Maximus Wines (& Settlers Spirits)
197 Foggo Road
McLaren Vale
phone: 8323 8777

Tilbrook Estate Cellar Door


date of visit: Saturday 18 June 2016

Ahhhhhh, group buying. Something that can be a brilliant way of getting you out of the house and doing stuff … or just a brilliant way of parting you and your money.

I have a rough rule that I don’t buy another voucher til the previous one is used. There is a bit of flexibility there but generally I find it’s a good way of ensuring I actually use them and thus not wasting the money.

We’ve headed to a couple of cellar doors using vouchers and they’ve all worked out well. Tilbrook Estate was the first voucher I’ve purchased where the food included was more substantial than a cheese plate. For our $29 we were to receive a wine tasting (Tilbrook Estate normally charges $5 a head for this), an entree platter and one pizza. And a bottle of Red Sofa wine to take home. Considering the wine retails just under $20 you’re ahead on this kind of deal before you even turn up.

Booking was all done over email (which I love!) and James – owner and winemaker – was very clear about how to get to the winery which was particularly useful due to some roadworks around Lobethal. The cellar door is in Lobethal’s Old Woollen Mill so it’s not pretty, there’s no bucolic view over the vines – instead, you feel like you are in a winery’s engine room. The tasting area is tiny – so booking in through a voucher deal is ideal – and the tables for eating are surrounded by fermenters and winery equipment.

We arrived just as the couple before us was finishing their tasting which was perfect timing. The line up is typical Adelaide Hills varieties – things like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Shiraz (sorry, Syrah!). I’m not going to give you a detailed break down on the wines – I thought the whites looked better than the reds, and the Sauvignon Blanc which had seen some oak retained its grassiness. The Chardonnay, recently scored highly by Halliday, had been open a bit too long (something even James acknowledged) which was a shame as it wasn’t showing as well as it could have.


After our tasting, we opted for the winemaker’s pizza (topped with all the meats) and bought a bottle of Pinot to have with our food (remember – South Australia’s licensing laws mean that what you don’t finish you can take with you).

While waiting for the pizza we enjoyed our platter. Master 5 – who refuses to eat pizza – ate most of the platter but shared a little with us. The dip was delicious – skordalia-like and loaded with garlic. The almonds and olives were warm, and the two hams were lovely (Master 5 polished off the smoked salmon before we got a look-in).

Our pizza (cooked in the outdoor pizza oven) then arrived. It was pretty good! The topping outstripped the base which was a bit doughy for me. I loved the use of fresh tomato and the cheese, meats and fresh basil were a great combination. I love pizzas which remind me that you don’t need to put 300 toppings on them!

We left well fed and watered and overall quite impressed with the experience. Given that we’d paid just $29 for the experience it was definitely good value. If you do head up to Lobethal – bear in mind that the cellar door is tiny and this is pretty much a micro-business. Many tiny brands simply don’t have the capacity for running a cellar door, so hats off to James for making it work.

Tilbrook Estate
1 Lobethal Road
Lobethal 5241
phone: 08 8389 5318

Sam Miranda Cellar Door Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Sam Miranda 2011 SB

Disclaimer: I was sent this wine by Wine Selectors as part of the first case in their Regional Series. Wine Selectors’ price is $16 a bottle.

I am not a big Sauvignon Blanc drinker and, in particular, I am not big on New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Not that I think there is anything wrong with a NZ Savvy but there’s rather too much of it, too much of it that is average, and too many people who won’t drink anything else.

If you do like a Sauvignon Blanc, please make the tiny effort required to seek out a home grown one.

This Sam Miranda Sauvignon Blanc comes from King Valley in north eastern Victoria – which is a good change for a South Australian. The Sam Miranda range is the premium range of the winery. Unfortunately, this Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t appear on the website, which is a shame because it’s not your typical SB when it comes to winemaking.

For the wine geeks, the wine has been subject to wild barrel fermentation (Sauvignon Blanc is usually made in stainless steel tanks), and has the unusual addition of 10% Savagnin and 5% Petit Manseng.

Savagnin is increasingly seen in Australia, because what everyone thought was Albariño turned out to be Savagnin instead. For most the world, it’s a little known grape – aside from us, it’s really only seen in its homeland of the Jura in France.

Petit Manseng is an even less familiar grape. It is originally from south west France and is now being grown a little in both California and Australia. I’ve only seen one straight Petit Manseng – the 919 from the Riverland.

So there are a lot of interesting things about this wine but this doesn’t mean that diehard Sauvignon Blanc drinkers will be disappointed. On the nose there is the gooseberry, passionfruit, pineapple and even a hint of banana that people expect, or even demand, of a Sav Blanc. It’s not the aggressively herbaceous cat’s pee kind of nose that you sometimes get – it’s very approachable.

On the palate it’s all about the passionfruit and pineapple. There’s acidity there and a bit more weight than the typical Sauvignon Blanc (I suspect that’s thanks to the barrel ferment). This makes this wine incredibly approachable and it would work just as well with food as it would as an apéritif.

This is great – because I can recommend this wine to you on two fronts. Yes, it does indeed have some curiosity value but it’s also good to drink.