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Tuesday 18 February 2014

Country comforts in the Clare Valley

Sometimes cute, cosy and comfortable wins out hands down over flashy and functional. 

In wine regions, it is often nice to have a self-contained cottage where you can picnic, or open a bottle of wine, on the deck or in the garden.

I very much enjoyed a recent stay at Mellers of Auburn, formerly known as Cygnets, a collection of three cottages, and a tea room, right in the centre of the Clare Valley village of Auburn and just a short stroll to the Mount Horrocks cellar door, the Rising Sun pub, the local supermarket and a brand new attraction: the Jeanneret/Good Catholic Girl and Clare Brewing Company tasting facility. 

Auburn is the first stop driving into the Clare en route from Adelaide and is a lovely little village.

Mellers, the former general store, was built in the mid 1800s and is beautifully restored. It is adjacent to Terroir restaurant, and just a short walk to the Riesling Trail.

Mellers Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch or a snack anytime between 9am and 3pm Monday to Friday and between 9am and 4pm on weekends.

The accommodation is in three heritage rooms, Mellers Studio in the main building and two delightful rooms in the converted stable block at the rear of property. 

The cottage-style comfortable rooms have large en-suites with spa baths in the stable rooms and a regular bath tub in the studio. A continental breakfast is included in the price of the rooms, which start at $440 for a three-night stay.

I found the rooms well equipped (although the shower gel/shampoo dispeners were mysteriously empty) and slept well. The gardens are lovely and it is just a short walk to The Rising Sun pub, where gourmet meals and pub snacks are served until 8pm, even on Monday nights. 

Terroir was closed when I visited but the hotel food was outstanding and I certainly enjoyed a Ranga Tang Ale and the Miss Molly grape cider at the Clare Valley Brewing facility across the road, where it also pays not to miss the Jeanneret 2013 Watervale Riesling.  

Mellers of Auburn Cafe and Accommodation, 21 Main North Road, Auburn, South Australia. Café: 0434 274 189. Room reservations: 0488 9200 677. 

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