Pinot Noir blossoms in Orange

A Pinot Noir from Orange has won a gold medal at the National Wine Show for the first time.

With the gold medal winners in the Pinot class usually hailing from cool, southern wine regions like Tasmania, the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula, the gold medal awarded to Colmar Estate’s 2018 Block 1 Pinot Noir is a major step forward for Orange, said owner Bill Shrapnel.

“No Pinot Noir from Orange has ever won a gold medal at the National Wine Show until now. This is a major step forward for our wine region,” Shrapnel said.

Daniel Shaw, winemaker at Philip Shaw Wines, is also breaking new ground with Pinot Noir – the 2018 Philip Shaw No.8 Pinot Noir taking out the trophy for Best Pinot Noir at the 2019 New South Wales Wine Awards last month.

“Until now it’s been assumed that Australia’s best pinots will inevitably come from southern latitudes. But there are two routes to a cool climate – you can head south, or you can head up. The Orange wine region is defined by altitude,” Shaw said.

As less than one per cent of vineyards in Australia sit above 600m from sea level, the Orange region offers unique opportunities for viticulture as most of the better sites for Pinot Noir sit at 900-1000m above sea level.

Climactically speaking, Pinot Noir grapes in Orange can be grown in similar conditions to those in the French wine region of Burgundy, the ancestral home of Pinot Noir.

Local winemaker Chris Derrez, who hails from Burgundy, tasted barrel samples of the 2019 vintage Pinot Noirs from across the Orange Region last week.

“Pinot Noir from Orange is coming of age,” he said.

“The early wines from the region were very fine, delicate, pretty pinots. I used to think of them as ballerinas.

“But as our vines age and with improved viticulture the wines are gaining colour, weight and depth of flavour.

“I’m very excited about the future for Pinot Noir in the Orange Region,” he added

Photo: @smudgeeats