A visit with The Lane, Adelaide Hills
The Bentley coupe, Aston Martin and Porsche tell a story. Thirty minutes from Adelaide, Sunday lunch at The Lane is an event. And both winery and restaurant are a class act – in every sense at this is a well oiled machine.
Viticulturist Marty Edwards had been up at harvest first thing when, at 450m, the fruit was still “in the fridge” (at six degrees centigrade), but he was the consummate host. Fine glassware was lined up with individual copper spittoons for our “Gathering Experience” tasting of The Lane Cuvee Helen sparkling 2009, The Gathering Sauvignon Semillon 2014, Beginning Chardonnay 2013, Reunion Shiraz 2013 and 19th Meeting Cabernet Sauvignon 2012.
It was my first taste of the fizz (it doesn’t make it to the UK) but, as Edwards pointed out, “it’s mum [Helen], so it’s got to be good.” Made from 4 rows of one Chardonnay clone and 4 rows of another it has zero dosage/malo and great line, length and purity. In common with the rest of this leading Adelaide Hills’ producers’ wines, it’s finely drawn in terms of structure and bead, but has a deliciousness – golden delicious fruit intensity and purity.
Says Edwards, “wines have got to have a sweet spot.” Five years on lees lends a silkiness to the palate, while an element of barrel ferment brings a hint of nougat to the finish.
Against a strong field (my group were bowled over by the Reunion Shiraz 2013), Beginning Chardonnay 2013 really blew me away. Flinty and well focused with subtly smoky (smoked hazelnut) oak, tight lemony fruit and great savoury depth, the whole pulled off with great levity and finesse. I’ll be buying when I get home.
Edwards toddled off to bed after the tasting leaving us to linger over lunch, including an excellent, really savoury mature 2001 Reunion Shiraz. As I fully expected having dined at his dad’s house on my first trip to Australia in 2004, the food and food and wine matching was peerless.
Overlooking the vineyard and hilly landscape on a fine day, it was hard to think of anywhere I’d rather be. I find I am rather enjoying leading a wine tour – we’re covering lots of ground but it’s a holiday for my group, so there are plenty of long, relaxing lunches and dinners too, plus a chance to check out the wildlife at the local nature resort – I can at last tick Koalas and Wombats off the list on this my 11th visit to Australia!