26 September 2023

Orange Celebrates

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By Christine Salins.


The Orange wine region boasts some of Australia’s highest-elevation vineyards, producing a diverse array of cool-climate styles. But wineries are not the only drawcard for this thriving regional city, which is also known for its spectacular vistas and wonderful local produce.

Held over a month in spring, the Orange Wine Festival showcases the region at its best. To be held this year from September 30 to October 30, it’s an opportunity to enjoy a stellar line-up of wines.

The packed program includes behind-the-scenes access to wineries, meet-the-maker opportunities, wine education sessions, the Orange Wine Show, and culinary experiences paired with the region’s wines and winemakers.

President of the Orange Region Vignerons Association, Tom Ward, says it will be a perfect opportunity to taste the high-quality vintages of 2021 and 2022.

Despite a nervous lead-up to the 2022 vintage – it was the coolest and latest in 20-odd years according to winemaker Will Rikard-Bell – quality across the board has been stunning. A lot of the fruit ripened without excessive alcohol and the owner of Rikard Wines believes it will be looked back on as one of the classic vintages.

Partnering with the Vignerons Association, Country Food Trails is hosting The Vino Express, a 3-day epicurean tour departing Sydney’s Central Station on October 28. Tour guide and Orange local, Nicole Farrell, provides a unique, personal experience that she describes as “a stress-free, fully immersive food and wine experience”.

“There are 35 cellar doors to explore, but Orange is so much more than just a wine destination,” she says. For information about the Orange Wine Festival, visit orange360.com.au

Angullong 2018 Crossing Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, $48: Angullong, on the foothills of Mount Canobolas, has a focus on emerging Italian varieties and last week we featured its ‘Harriet’ blend of Italian reds. Winemaker Ben Crossing says Orange Cabernet Sauvignon can be fickle but Angullong’s plantings are more than 20 years old and it has some fantastic fruit to choose from. Rich and vibrant with generous flavours of blackberries and cinnamon, this savoury, full-bodied wine has nicely balanced oak and silky tannins. The label has an embossed crest, fitting for a classy wine.

Carillion 2019 Origins Feldspars Shiraz, $60: Hunter Valley-based Carillion has vineyards in Orange and Wrattonbully. Its Origins range includes a Hunter Shiraz and this one from Orange, made the same way to highlight regional and even vineyard differences. The more-elevated Orange vineyard, on deep, ancient volcanic basalt with great sunlight for extended ripening, produces small, delicate, perfumed Shiraz. This one oozes with personality and vibrancy, with hints of cloves and pepper peeking out over plum and red berry flavours. Very elegant.

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