There's nothing like spending a cool night in a warm place. I can't think of a much warmer place, in many ways, than the Lazy Ballerina cellar door at Kuitpo, just a ten minute drive from McLaren Vale and an hour and a half from the Barossa. I've mentioned the Lazy Ballerina and James Hook many times, and frankly, if you still haven't got the message that this is a must-do for any wine fan, then you must have a good reason for it.
It truly is a remarkable place, and the wines are divine. The Hook family (James, his Mum and Dad) are incredibly hospitable and know how to put on a good show, and a good show it was on the evening of Saturday September 11th, 2010, when for a bargain price of $20 per person, you could taste the Lazy Ballerina new releases (2007 Lot 13 Grenache and 2006 Fortified Vintage Grenache) and enjoy the never-ending and most delightful Italian-inspired goodies made by the hands of Mrs. Hook. What an incredible experience.
I took some of my best friends with me on the night, and the husband of course. All three of them had never been to the Lazy Ballerina before, nor met any of the Hook family. All three were completely impressed, with everything - the wines, the people, the food, the setting, the cellar door, everything! How could you not be? The gardens, even at night, are stunning and I can recall the very first time that I met James Hook; he was busily loading wheelbarrows of mulch to spread over the enormous and beautiful garden. A busy man who always has a smile and such lovely manners, even when totally worn out from gardening after a hard days work at his other job(s).
Our small group was also joined by Robyn Smith of Robyn's Southern Spirit Tours. Robyn kindly provided accommodation and arranged transport for the night and was just as impressed by the wines on offer. My accompanying song for this blog post sprang to my mind when I thought of the bus trip home that night - what a great memory to have forever; full bellies, the taste of those delightful wines still fresh in our mouths (and a few cases next to me on the bus:), lots of laughs and a perfect end to a wonderful evening. Ironically, this song is filmed on a bus, but that's not why I chose it - that was due to the fact it was such a happy, bright, feel-good song. And that is exactly how I felt on the night and still feel when I think of it. Here it is: Lesley Gore's 'Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows' - a classic from the 1965 film 'Ski Party'.
I also met Bec Hardy and Richard Dolan who are very lovely, and I managed to finally bring some of the K1 wines home with me. K1 is definitely on my list of cellar doors to visit on my next trip south. An extra surprise was personally meeting one of my Karra Yerta Wines Facebook fans, Judy. We had an absolute ball getting to know each other and plan to meet up again soon.
I truly love going to McLaren Vale - the hospitality down south is second to none. I always have a great time. The bonus is of course that I also love the regions wines. Tough life being in the wine industry. Seriously, it's not all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, you know!