New South Wales – Orange – cool climate hotspot
By Winsor Dobbin
Orange, in the Central West of New South Wales, has rapidly become recognised as one of Australia’s premier cool-climate wine producing regions.
The region, 3 ½ hours west of Sydney, has a long history of growing apples, cherries and stone fruit, and grapes were grown in the district when it was settled in the mid-1800s following a gold rush.
The modern development of the wine industry began in the early 1980s and sauvignons blanc and chardonnay have thrived, along with shiraz, cabernet sauvignon with merlot and pinot noir also doing well at higher altitudes. Grapes are grown at elevations varying from 600 to 1,100 metres, ensuring a variety of wine styles.
Star wineries include regional pioneer Bloodwood, Cargo Road, Canobolas-Smith, Mayfield Vineyard, Patina, Word of Mouth, Printhie, Philip Shaw, Angullong, Ross Hill and Cumulus, which produces wines under both the Rolling and Climbing labels.
Stop 1 – Shopping at A Slice of Orange
This recently-opened providore in downtown Orange sells boutique and regional produce from Orange and the surrounding region; everything from seasonal fruit and berries, to venison, goat, pork free-range eggs, prunes and gourmet sweet and savoury biscuits. Gift and picnic hampers are also available and cooler bags can be purchased in which to take perishables back home. An excellent one-stop shop for gourmet goodies.
Open: Monday-Friday 9am-5.30pm, Saturday 9am-3pm, Sunday 10am-3pm
Shop 2, 200 Anson Street, Orange
Phone (02) 6369 0396
Stop 2 – Wine tasting at Angullong
Head out of town to the new Angullong cellar door, next door to the Basalt, restaurant, cafe and wine bar in the attractive little hamlet of Millthorpe, which is also home to the excellent Tonic restaurant and the new La Boucherie store, which sells art, books and espresso coffees. Both Angullong and Basalt are owned by the Crossing family, whose vineyards are in the foothills of Mount Canobolas. The cellar door is an old bluestone stable next to the former Commercial Hotel, where Basalt now offers lunches, dinners and inexpensive accommodation.
You must taste: The excellent sauvignon blanc and the Italian accented sangiovese and barbera.
Open: Cellar door: Weekends and public holidays. Basalt: Lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday. Bunch:Saturday-Sunday
Corner Park and Victoria Streets, Millthorpe
Phone Angullong 0458 664 301
Phone Basalt (02) 6366 3999
Stop 3 – Wine tasting at Patina
Californian-born Gerald Naef makes outstanding wines – his first vintage chardonnay in 2003 was a multiple award winner – and his cellar door is currently in his lounge room, although a new facility under his impressive home will open in late 2010. Patina is a real garagiste operation with Naef making his wines in a shed behind his home, and his labels designed by his artist wife Angie.
You must taste: The Scandalous 2009 Riesling, a delightful sweeter wine, the 2004 Pinot Noir and 2003 Jezza Cabernet Merlot.
Open: Saturday-Sunday 11am-5pm or by appointment.
109 Summerhill Lane, Orange
Phone (02) 6362 8336
Stop 4 – Lunch at Racine at La Colline
Racine is the French word for ‘roots’ or ‘origin’ and talented couple Shaun and Willa Arantz create inventive dishes featuring local produce and wines whenever possible in a lovely rural setting outside town and overlooking the vines. Dine inside or out. Dishes here include pork terrine with white peaches, cornichons, toasted brioche and Dijon mustard, and local venison loin with broccoli purée, pickled mushrooms and peppercorn jus. Two courses cost $60 and three courses $70.
Open: For dinner Thursday-Saturday, for light lunches Thursday-Friday and for lunch Saturday-Sunday
42 Lake Canobolas Road, Orange
Phone (02) 6365 3275
Stop 5 – Shopping at Union Bank Wine Store
The Union Bank Wine Bar and Wine Store occupies a group of heritage-listed buildings clustered around a shady courtyard in the heart of town. Store manager Nick Butler and Matt Heagney have put together one of the best selections of wine to be found in country NSW – including international offerings and there are usually wines available to taste. The wine bar offers appealing bistro-style food that can be enjoyed al fresco.
Corner Byng Street and Sale Streets, Orange
Phone (02) 6361 4441
Stop 6 - Wine Tasting at Mayfield Vineyard
The Thomas family’s cellar door is one of the prettiest around and overlooks a magnificent dam populated by a range of birdlife. The on-site restaurant has unfortunately closed but there are two charming vineyard cottages available for rent and the former restaurant is used for a range of wine events.
You must taste: The 2008 Pinot Noir is exceptional and all the whites wines are worth sampling, particularly the Mayfield and Icely Road rieslings.
Open: Saturday-Sunday and public holidays 10am-4pm or by appointment.
954 Icely Road, Orange
Phone (02) 6365 9292
Stop 7 – Dinner at Bistro Ceello
Orange dining icon Selkirk has closed but leading local chef Scott Want has launched Bistro Ceello in the same building. Want formerly worked at Selkirks and at the Union Bank Wine Bar and is creating what he describes as “simple, relaxed food.” Entrees are all $18 and mains $28 and all the dishes on the menu are matched to local wines by the glass. Choices include twice-cooked goat cheese tart with parsley sauce and mixed leaves, and confit duck leg with creamy mash, garlic green beans, chilli jam and red wine sauce. There are several good wine options at moderate prices.
Open: Wednesday-Saturday evenings for dinner and for lunch on Fridays.
179 Anson Street, Orange
Phone (02) 6361 1179
Stop 8 – Overnight stay at de Russie Suites
The boutique de Russie Suites, the top accommodation in town, feature a range of stylish serviced apartment options from two-bedroom suites to studios, all equipped with king beds, mini bars, air-conditioning, cable TV, kitchenettes, refrigerators and wireless broadband. The best suites are extremely spacious. There are several restaurants and cafes within walking distance.
Open: Seven days
72 Hill Street, Orange
Phone (02) 6360 0973
- The many annual local food and wine festivals, including Orange Wine Week (October 22-31 in 2010)
- The Orange Region Farmers' Markets on the second Saturday of each month
- The range of zinfandels at the Cargo Road cellar door
- Dinner at long-standing local favourite Lolli Redini
- Tasting some of the delicious produce and cakes made by Anna's Cuisina
- Sampling some of the local Mandagery Creek Australian Farmed Venison
- Central Ranges (NSW)
- Explorer Country (NSW)
- Orange (NSW)
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