d’Arenberg winery, October 2022
d’Arenberg Cube is a five-storey, double-tempered glass building situated within the Mourvèdre vines of d’Arenberg winery in the little town of McLaren Vale, itself a great stop and gateway to South Australia’s famous Fleurieu Peninsula. The design concept for the Cube came from d’Arenberg’s Chief Winemaker, Chester Osborn, by way of inspiration from Toyo Ito’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London and Ernõ Rubik’s famous puzzle. Built in 2014/17 at a reputed cost of $15 million to $16 million Australian dollars, it rises, or ‘floats’ above gently rolling hills and vines, in no way creating an eyesore.
You enter through the ground floor, pass through a ghost-train like door and take the lift to the 5th floor. There, amid some very stylish bric-a-brac, you can sample some of d’Arenberg’s finest: the TVC crew plumped for the whites and light reds – “The Dry Dam” Riesling, “The Broken Fishplate” Sauvignon Blanc, “The Hermit Crab” Viognier Marsanne (excellent), “The Lucky Lizard” Chardonnay (un-oaked), “House of Pink Mind Your P’s & Q’s” Sangiovese Rosé, and “The Feral Fox” Pinot Noir, all very reasonably-priced superior table wines.
Then we descended a floor to take in Polly’s restaurant (chic but we can’t comment, as we didn’t dine there) and down the next to the art gallery featuring some very interesting pieces (mainly statuary) by the Divine Dali and some post-surreal pieces by Charles Billich.
On the ground floor, there’s a so-called “Alternate Realities Museum” which comprises largely bric-a-brac, although some of the objects at least could be called interesting tat. We were more taken with the African Tribal Masks on the 3rd floor:
We then repaired to Salopian Inn (Corner Main Road & McMurtrie Road, McLaren Vale), a few kilometres away. The Inn is a perfect place for a casual lunch, an old retro-fitted cottage amid vineyards, with a great range of offerings and a sensational cellar. We had (washed down with a light white):
And on the way home, a quick stop at Coriole Winery (Chaffeys Rd, McLaren Vale), for a nice glass of Piquepoul – “spritely and fresh showing fresh lemon, cypress and white nectarine.” Nice under the shade of the lush gardens abutting the cellar door. (d’Arenberg and Coriole deliver by the way – check out their sites).