COOL VINES OF­FER VA­RI­ETY

ORANGE’S CLI­MATE, EL­E­VA­TION AND DI­UR­NAL TEM­PER­A­TURE RANGE IS PER­FECT FOR A NUM­BER OF GRAPE VA­RI­ETALS

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | FOOD & WINE - WORDS: TRAVIS SCHULTZ To read more Travis Schultz wine re­views, go to traviss­chultz.com.au

It’s al­ways struck me as a bit of an odd­ity, but the blos­som­ing re­gion called Orange in mid-western New South Wales doesn’t grow citrus, let alone or­anges.

In fact, the sta­ple crop of the re­gion has his­tor­i­cally been ap­ples – so much so, that the crop from the district ac­counts for roughly half of the to­tal ap­ple pro­duc­tion of NSW.

The town­ship was ap­par­ently pre­vi­ously known as Black Man’s Swamp but was gifted a new moniker by sur­veyor gen­eral Thomas Mitchell, who was in­tend­ing to be­stow an hon­our on the Prince of Orange who later be­came the King of Hol­land.

Th­ese days, the area around the town­ship has be­come hot prop­erty in the world of wine.

Although vine­yards were only planted in the re­gion through the 1980s and 1990s, it has at­tracted a num­ber of ac­claimed wine­mak­ers and winer­ies – brands such as Phillip Shaw, Cu­mu­lus Es­tate, De Salis and Ross Hill.

And the rea­son: its el­e­va­tion and di­ur­nal tem­per­a­ture range which is per­fect for gen­tle ripen­ing and re­ten­tion of full fruit flavours.

By def­i­ni­tion, the Orange re­gion has a cool cli­mate. Its el­e­va­tion is what de­fines the re­gion, ac­cord­ing to Geo­graphic In­di­ca­tion the low­est level starts at 600m above sea level, while at its high­est point on Mt Canobo­las, it reaches 1400m.

Cur­rently, the vine­yards at the high­est point sit around 1100m, mak­ing them se­ri­ously el­e­vated and un­de­ni­ably cool. Even in Jan­uary, the mean av­er­age tem­per­a­ture is about 20C, which is sig­nif­i­cantly lower than places such as the Barossa, Coon­awarra and Mclaren Vale.

The di­verse to­pog­ra­phy, cou­pled with the el­e­va­tion, cre­ates a wide range of mi­cro-cli­mates through the area and this en­ables wine­mak­ers to grow many dif­fer­ent va­ri­etals rather than be­ing lim­ited to only a few rock-star grapes.

But such is the bless­ing of the ter­roir and cli­mate that there are pro­duc­ers, such as An­gul­long, who grow no less than 18 dif­fer­ent grapes – and I reckon that’s just show­ing off.

The An­gul­long vine­yards are prob­a­bly the largest in the Orange ap­pel­la­tion as they have about 222.5ha of vines, grow­ing every­thing from caber­net and shi­raz to bar­bera, mon­telpul­ciano and san­giovese.

But if I had to pick just one of their wines as a stand-out, de­spite my fetish for cool­cli­mate chardon­nay, I’d have to lean to­wards the uniquely Orange sauvi­gnon blanc.

The va­ri­etal flour­ishes in the district where the slower ripen­ing dur­ing cool nights al­lows an in­ten­sity of flavour, bright­ness of colour and great nat­u­ral acid­ity to bring bal­ance and so­phis­ti­ca­tion.

The 2018 An­gul­long Sauvi­gnon Blanc is now on the shelves and is bright, vi­brant and slightly green-edged in the glass.

On the nose, there are typ­i­cal trop­i­cal fruit char­ac­ters but once on the palate, guava, pas­sion­fruit and pineap­ple emerge be­fore nat­u­ral acid­ity tight­ens the fin­ish and en­sures a lin­ger­ing crisp­ness to the fi­nale.

I re­ally en­joy a sauvie that isn’t overly sweet and flabby, and the An­gul­long cer­tainly fits the bill. At only $20 a bot­tle, I reckon it’s fair value and eas­ily found at most ma­jor bot­tle shops.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

ROYAL CROWN: An­gul­long vine­yards stretch across 222.5ha of prop­erty grow­ing more than 18 va­ri­eties of grapes.

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