Photos: Vineyard scenes, Orange NSW
For my brother-in-law's birthday, the family combined to give him a voucher allowing he and his wife to choose a range of holidays. They chose a wine and food weekend in Orange, NSW.
They had a magnificent time, unveiling some of the results at yesterday's family Christmas lunch in the form of a range of Orange wines. These were very good indeed. Over lunch they told us about Orange's wine, food, shops and sophisticated life style. They were also impressed that Orange prices were generally lower than Sydney prices for equivalent product.
For those who do not know Orange, the City is located in the NSW central tablelands around 3.5 hours driving time west of Sydney, 3 hours north west from Canberra. Located in scenic countryside, it is a beautiful and historic city with a population of 38,000 servicing a district population of 100,000 in all.
The Orange Wine Region is a young district with the earliest plantings in the early 1980s. It now includes vineyards planted above six hundred metres in altitude within Blayney, Cabonne and Orange local government areas. In all, there are now approximately fifty vineyards (some twenty-five cellar doors) all producing award winning cool climate wine of unique and distinct character are now some 1350 hectares under vine. The Region has a reliable rainfall, a dry autumn and a cold winter - all of which gives Orange an enviable natural advantage.
The higher vineyards of the region near Mount Canobolas range up to 1050 metres above sea level and are particularly suited to Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot. At this altitude vineyards can often be dedicated to sparkling wine production with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir dominating.
Over Christmas lunch we drank a lovely Pinot Noir with a glorious golden colour.
The Orange region has also built a substantial reputation for its cool climate chardonnay with wines from many regional labels [Rosemount Estate, Highland Heritage Estate, Brangayne of Orange and Canobolas-Smith Wines] winning trophies for their Chardonnays in recent years.
Red wines are less well known, although there are still some very nice wines.
Like so many of our new wine areas, development of local food and cooking followed vineyard development. Here Orange has had a real advantage because of its fine local produce including good meat and cold weather fruits. Development has been supported through the development of a local farmers' market, wine and food festivals and a range of restaurants and food outlets.
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