About this WINE
Eden Road Wines
New South Wales
With 24 percent of Australia’s vineyards (40,000 hectares), New South Wales is the country’s second-largest wine-producing region, notably in the zones of Riverina, Mudgee, Orange and the the Hunter Valley. Of these, only the Hunter Valley and, potentially, Orange could probably be considered fine wine regions.
Thanks to the Murrumbidgee (River) Irrigation Area, Riverina was turned from a dust bowl into a viticultural oasis from 1899 onwards, a process accelerated after WWII, with the flow of Italian immigrants into the area. Vines account for approximately 10,000 hectares, with grain, rice and vegetables also grown. While irrigation of the red loam ensures this region’s survival, unusual bursts of rainfall during the very hot growing season enable Sémillon - the region’s most planted variety – to develop noble rot. Casella Family Brands (owner of ‘[yellow tail]’ wines) are based here.
Orange is a small region with a fine wine opportunity: at 900 to 1100 metres it benefits from the cooling influence of Mount Canobolas (1,400 metres), whose basalt and limestone soils favour light whites such as Chardonnay.
The best district is the Hunter Valley, 250km north of Sydney. It is very hot, but frequent cloud cover softens the impact of the sun. Excellent Sémillon wines are produced here as well as first-rate Shiraz.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.