Category Archives: Orange Wine Region

Oct 10 2011

A Weekend Discovering the Wines and Food of Orange: Day 2

Posted on October 10, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Day two began with coffee and breakfast at Benson’s Cafe (the best place for coffee in Orange!) and a trip out to Ross Hill. We were greeted by father and son team Peter and James Robson, who took us on a tour of their immaculately kept winery (originally an old apple packing shed), and poured us samples of almost the entire Ross Hill range.

While not certified organic, Peter and James believe that minimising the use of commercial preparations in the vineyard is key to expressing the unique characteristics of their special terroir. Vines are hand-pruned, grapes are hand-picked and insecticides aren’t used. At an elevation of almost 800 metres and with rocky, free-draining soils over a 410 million year old limestone base, the pair believe they have one of the best sites in Orange, especially for red varieties.

Since 2009 the wines have been made by Phil Kerney and his wife Rochelle and marketed under two labels: the higher priced Pinnacle Series and the more moderately priced Family Series. All of the wines were excellent, but for me the stand-outs were the refined, yet full bodied, wild yeast fermented Pinnacle Chardonnay 2010, the rich, savoury and elegant Pinnacle Shiraz 2009 and the Bordeaux blend Isabelle & Jack Cabernet Franc Merlot 2009.

Next we headed down to Fiorini’s where Italian chefs Patrizia Fiorini and Marina Fedeli delighted us with their home-style Italian cooking served on shared plates in a brightly coloured little cottage decorated with exuberant Van Gogh prints. More superb examples of Orange wines were chosen to complement a wide assortment of dishes including warm olives, lightly fried calamari, smoked mozzarella, locally sourced garlic mushrooms and a veal schnitzel topped with a ‘to die for’ truffle and gorgonzola sauce!

Wine selections were the De Salis Wild Read the rest

Oct 10 2011

A Long Weekend Discovering the Wines and Food of Orange: Day 1

Posted on October 10, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

I’ve just returned from a truly memorable weekend in Orange. Organised by the Wine & Food Society of NSW, the trip was months in the planning. Fortunately the Society’s Cellar Master is a good friend of Peter Bourne (The Wine Man), who now calls Orange home. Peter generously shared his insights into the best restaurants and wines and organised for us to meet a number of stellar winemakers.

Friday night’s dinner was at Shaun and Willa Arantz’s Racine Restaurant in the beautiful La Colline vineyard. This SMH Good Food Guide one chef hatted restaurant is well loved by Orange locals for its innovative food with a focus on locally sourced produce.

After enjoying La Colline’s NV Sparkling of Orange on the terrace we sat down to an entree of poached fresh water trout with apple jelly, boudin noir crumbs and yoghurt. The entree was matched with a fine selection of wines by Belgravia Wines: Gewürztraminer 2009, Apex Orange Chardonnay 2009, Sangiovese 2009 and Shiraz 2009. Proof, in any was needed, that Orange is about so much more than sauvignon blanc!

The Gewürztraminer was the hit at our table. Deliciously aromatic, it had wonderful flavours of lychee, spice and ginger.

The Belgravia range is made by Phil Kerney, who also serves as winemaker for Ross Hill. Kerney takes a minimalist approach to winemaking in order to bring to the fore the clean fruit flavours and minerality endowed to the wines by Orange’s cool climate and high altitude vineyards on ancient volcanic soils. The elegant and balanced Apex Orange Chardonnay, for example, is whole bunch pressed and wild yeast fermented in new French oak. Incidentally, James Halliday rated the 2010 vintage 96 points, one of the highest ratings he has given to date for a chardonnay from … Read the rest