Orange is a region that is full of contradictions: called Orange it is of course famous for its cherries, an aussie wine region but cool climate. Now you would be forgiven for being sceptical when linking the words cool and Australia. Indeed we have all heard that term banded around hopefully by various new world wine regions, and I think the majority of us Europeans have concluded that our definition of cool is fundamentally different. Orange however, I can testify with goosebumps on my arms is distinctly cool climate. It is the only GI that is defined by altitude and ranges from 600m above sea level to 1100m and that, my friends, gives them snow in the winter, long sunshine hours, moderated temperature and blessedly cold nights – the perfect recipe for premium wines.
Beyond these idyllic conditions what really stood out about the Orange wine growing community was the excitement and sense of frontier adventure that permeated the air. It is a young producing region, the old hands have been going for a mere 25 years, and as such they are masters of their own destiny, unfettered by history and free to define their style as they see fit. They have all the latest technology at their fingertips as far as soil mapping, clonal research and training methods go, not to mention many vintages under their belt making wine across the world. This combined with the obvious passion and excitement for their own wines, and the wines of their neighbours promises a very exciting future.
We had the pleasure of tasting wines from Logan, Philip Shaw, Cumulus, Brangayne, Borrodell, De Salis, Ross Hill, Faisan and Highland Heritage. There was a distinct fingerprint that made these wines uniquely Orange: elegance, freshness, subtlety, fine boned structure and lingering nervy finish combined with depth and vitality defined both whites and reds making them invigorating and memorable to taste. And yet each wine was beautifully reflective of the winemaker, their personalities as distinct and likable as each of their creators. The region is just on the start of their march to greatness and it is a journey I will be following with great interest.
The future is bright, the future is definitely Orange.