Southern Australia: Food, Film… and Wine

Candace Poole, resident Managing Editor, here to share a long overdue film and travel tip from the Award Season…

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s been a wild month.  While the Golden Globes and Oscars were taking over Los Angeles,  I happened to catch a G’Day LA film event that exposed me to an excellent film and some stunning countryside. It makes me love my job all the more when things fall into place so seamlessly and I have juice to share.

The event of the season (since I’m a lover of film and wine, of course) was the screening of Beautiful Kate, the brilliant directorial debut of Rachel Ward, about an Australian family who comes together for their dying father only to rediscover the painful secrets of a 20 year -old tragedy. Since I don’t want to give away the family secrets, I will say, this film was a deftly told art house film that touches the soul. Rachel Griffiths is superb as Sally, while Sophie Lowe as Kate shines with her fresh, haunting good looks.  A character piece that reminds me what it’s like to see good, quality cinema in Los Angeles.  It’s a rarity, so catch it while you can.

The screening, hosted by the South Australia Tourism Board, couldn’t have been more appropriate. Australia is as a diverse a landscape as one could imagine, with the environment reflecting the challenging and multi-faced aspects of the characters in the film.  From the extraordinary Flinders Ranges which is a magnificent backdrop for the Yura Muda (Aboriginal Dreaming) to the beautiful vineyards of the South Australia coast, there is enough dazzling natural beauty to fulfill any traveler’s dreams.  And that is only a small region of this awesome continent.

There to take note of what Australia has to offer the traveller,  the news is… ABUNDANCE.  After the film concluded, I headed to the party zone to partake in the delights of Kensington Caterers.  There wasn’t a bad note in the entire service. Then, the bar.  Those Aussies sure were as warm and welcoming as you’d imagine. The wonderful wines provided by Shingleback were a perfect match so I began with a 2007 Shingleback McLaren Vale Chardonnay to compliment the Mongolian shrimp lollipops  along with cleverly presented veggies and noodles in take out boxes with chop sticks that were perfectly rendered.  Next up, the lamb which was heavenly served with a Shingleback Shiraz. Oh, for a bigger handbag!  Who knew? Peppery excellence on the palate.

The superstar of the evening was the astonishingly beautiful Rachel Ward, whose eyes did not dart around the room once while she spoke to me.

I was able to meet the owners of the Australian winery Shingleback, John and Kate Davey and they could not have been more friendly and forthcoming with the excitement they have for not only their wines, but for the amazing lives they share with a joy that seems to go along with their profession.  Is it the air? Apparently so. The winery is located about 45 minutes south of Adelaide.  From Sellicks Hill Range then east to Clarendon, north just beyond Reynella and west to the Gulf, is the McLaren Vale region. Go there, NOW.

I had so much to think about when I returned home after such a stimulating evening. Not only the film and its profound layers that must be addressed, but how soon can I schedule a JAUNT to the Outback and Shingleback.

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