This will be short and sweet, just arrived in Hunter after an epic 7 hr journey from Orange. 

The winery

The winery and French oak barrels

But what a day..first and one of the highlights for me was Ross Hill Winery and the Pinnacle Range. Now these are really high altitude vineyards at around 1000 mts – and the climate undoubtably cool, something that I didn’t think Australia could be! The wines were honest, expressive and I thought quite European in style. I particularly enjoyed the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which both had fantastic depth of flavour despite the relatively young age of the vines.

Pumping over of the Pinot

Pumping over of the Pinot

Without a doubt this is due to the meticulous winemaking process…unusually the fermentation here is happening in open vats which are naturally cooled by the cold climate!

The other highlight was the master class with winemakers from Philip Shaw, Faisan, De Salis and Climbing. Stand outs for me were Faisan Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 and Philip Shaw no89 Shiraz, and being a Pinot Noir fan the De Salis Lofty was one of the best I’ve tried from Australia.

The over riding theme of Orange is that the winemakers here have something quite special – fantastic volcanic soil types, cool climate but high sunshine hours, grapes get to a perfect ripeness with natural acidity that run through the wines. Also the alcohol contents are refreshingly low. Some of the Sauvignon Blancs were just 11.5%.

If you thought Aussie wine was all about high alcohol, jammy, baked wines – these are so far from this stereotype, and I urge everyone to give the wines from Orange a try -I for one am definitely a fan!

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