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Australia,Wine,Winemaker

Zing Goes the Strings of My Heart ~ Introducing Eden Road Wines

Zing Goes the Strings of My Heart ~ Who remembers that one, besides me?

I recently wrote about Australian wines, and how the Australians may have shot themselves in the foot by flooding the American market with very inexpensive wines.  Wine pros agreed, and that tells me that I was on the right track for bringing up a real issue.

STORY: Do Americans expect to pay well below market value for great Australian wines, shunning the cost of the great ones?

When something really delicious comes down the highway, it needs to be  regarded for what it is, not what we expect it to be. So, rewind your expectations, boys and girls, and taste these wines on their own merits, not your palate’s wishes of

“They’re Australian wines so they MUST be a steal at $6.99?”

They’re Australian and for the value to quality ratio, they’re very fairly priced.

ABOUT EDEN ROAD:

Their logo is pretty high minded. It’s a pictorial representation of the Road to Eden, as a line which passes between two circles representing the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge.

Located in the Canberra region, it’s approximately 180 miles southwest of Sydney and approximately 60 miles inland from the sea. The district can be broadly categorized into two main sub regions: Murrambatemen, which lies on the Barton Highway North West of Canberra; and the Second region, along the Bungendore ridge and Northwest shore of Lake George.

This is a young viticultural area. On the shores of Lake George, originally small amounts of gold mining happened here. Then, the land was used for sheep grazing, until 1971, when it saw its first vineyards planted.

ABOUT EDEN ROAD’S WINEMAKING TEAM ~

Nick Spencer

FROM THEIR SITE:

Nick is the senior winemaker at Eden Road Wines and heads an experienced wine making and cellar team which includes Hamish Young, Aharon Staff, Andrew Ferrell, Dallas Finn and Ben Kenny.

Born in Geneva Switzerland, the well-traveled son of a diplomat, Nick Spencer has taken a unique path in discovering his passion for winemaking.

Nick’s journey began after an intimate tasting with Jean Charles Boisette at Domaine de La Vougeraie and has now included many years dedicated to honing his skills as a winemaker.

Nick’s experience in the wine industry has included roles at Rosemount, Coldstream Hills and Madew Wines.

From there he moved to Bordeaux for four years where he took up the position of winemaker and consultant for various wineries in Eastern Europe, including some amazing experiences on the coast of the Black Sea in Georgia, which he’s willing to discuss after a glass or two of his excellent wines!

Once home in Australia, Nick took up the position of winemaker at High Range Vintners in NSW, where he consulted to 15 brands in the Southern Highlands before joining Eden Road Wines before vintage 2008.

Hamish Young

Hamish is their operating winemaker, responsible for managing the winery on a day to day basis, reporting to Nick Spencer.

His wine passion first developed during countless family trips to Hawkes Bay in New Zealand, where he enjoyed Sunday afternoon tours of the many wineries in the region.

[I easily “get” that one, having represented Mills Reef Winery, during their PR visits to the US. Those wines would set anyone’s heart into the flip mode. A kinder family is hard to find.]

Hamish earned his certificate in Winemaking and Viticulture in the Marlborough Region under Aussie James Hillard, and spent a couple of years working and gaining knowledge of many different chardonnay styles and other white varieties. After a brief stop in Barossa Valley, Hamish helped run the Eden Road winery in the slightly higher altitude of the Eden Valley, before taking up his current position at their Eden Road winery in the cool climate region of Canberra.

According to the Website, Hamish is quoted: “For me, creating cool climate styles is far more challenging and it is where the real elegance and finesse in wines are found. Our dedication to Tumbarumba, Eden Valley, and Canberra is partly why I’m committed to Eden Road. It is an awesome company to be involved with, with an outstanding, committed winery crew that will no doubt continue to push the boundaries of new age winemaking.”

According to my palate: Eden Road has produced  some really luscious Shiraz. Also, kids, it’s comparably priced to their American Syrah counter parts… Great ready for some really taste treats, if you find these full-bodied wines.

[Image borrowed from the Eden Road Wines site.]

I have three Eden Road Wines that I’ve tasted, loving each one…

  1. 2010 Eden Road Gundagai Shiraz ($45.00)
    • The 2010 vintage comes from a cooler than average season. This must have been extremely challenging, since this is a cool region to begin with. Hamish’s focus for this wine was it structure and fruit intensity. He accomplished his goal handily.
    • This wine, after fermentation, went directly into old, French oak barrels for 14 months.
    • On the nose, I got the aromas of freshly baked bread and ripe plums and a slight vanilla. The palate followed with freshly baked blueberries in a cobbler of my youth, that I used to crave on warm July nights, after a full day of swimming. Both finishes (the cobbler and the wine) were simply delicious.
    • I enjoyed this wine at Chinois Asian Bistro, and had it with their Garlic Fried Rice with Chicken. Another delicious happening. This is a very rich Shiraz.
  2. 2010 Eden Road, The Long Road Gundagai Shiraz ($23.00)
    • This Shiraz comes from a vineyard that’s 1,312 feet above sea level. The soil is alluvial plain, that’s rich in iron stone and quartz.
    • On the nose I got a great licorice scent that was framed around black fruit. The palate gave me ripe, yummy boysenberries that were unctuous.
      That could be – by comparison with the one above – that this Shiraz only had half of its wine go into barrels, with the other half into stainless steel to preserver and emphasize the aromas and fruit flavors.
    • I had this one – for a food and wine paring – with Chinois’ pot stickers. they serve them with a citrus, soy sauce, sprinkled with toasted chili flakes. The flavors of light molasses really helped to emphasize this wine and create a favorite pairing for me for that night.
  3. 2010 Eden Road Hilltops Shiraz ($40.00)
    • This wine arrived a bit later than the other two above, as it wasn’t yet released. I took my time and waited for this one, because the other two were so amazing that it would only be fair to review all three to see how a winemaker can distinguish each wine by its terroir and fermentation and aging treatments.
    • Coming from the town of Young, a region that’s 1,640 feet above sea level, this climate has hot days and cool nights; with the soil varying from yellow cracking clay to basalt and decomposing granite… giving this Shiraz yet another uniquely flavored wine from the other two.
    • A lovely medium-dark color, the nose has ripe Marion berries for fruit, and lingering coffee notes. The palate follows the nose aromas into flavors, with the exception of coffee going away and rich dark chocolate replacing the aroma into a delicate flavor that lingers long after tasting the wine.
    • While I didn’t have this wine with any food at Chinois, I’ve had Chinos’ Won Ton Soup so much that I’d pair these two any day of the week for a perfect food and wine pairing.
    • And, yes, it was worth the wait.

They are great values and clearly worth every penny. I hope you can find them and try them for yourselves.they’re imported by Fruit of the Vines, Long Island City, NY.

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