Swinging Bridge. Orange wine. Forget what some are calling the “fad” of “orange” wine (that is, white wine with skin contact)…wine from Orange is one of my favourite things and is no fad. It is here to stay and the region is really starting to find it’s groove.
Tom Ward at Swinging Bridge is really forging ahead with his family’s wines, and he is one of the team behind the push for further recognition of New South Wales wines in New South Wales. This may seem a strange phenomenon…for an industry push to get retail and restaurants to promote their own backyard, but the “Ask For It” campaign launched by NSW Wine in 2012 saw potential in an untapped market: Namely their home state. Whether this perception of NSW wine has come about through laziness of the consumer or misguided marketing approaches, I’m not sure. As a relative latecomer to NSW (I’ve only lived here for 5 years), I’ve come to appreciate the history and the future of NSW wine. Orange is definitely part of that future, and Tom is one of the shining lights leading the way.
Technically, the Swinging Bridge cellar door is in a pretty little town called Canowindra, approximately 60kms from the relative metropolis of Orange. Tom and family have renovated what was his grandfather’s store in the crooked main street and turned it into a comfortable oasis of good nibbles, great coffees and even better wine. Orange district is definitively cool climate, and the Reserve Chardonnay is definitely a flagship label for the region.
Lovely and clear in the glass. The nose is very primary, with toasty oak, white flower blossoms and restrained white stone fruit. A tiniest spritz on the tongue then power. Restrained power. Not dominant oak or huge fruit, but lengths and lengths of almost just ripe white nectarine and acidity. The “wow…this is good” comment just flies without intention as if your palate has done all your thinking for you. But there’s some good toasty, smoky oak giving a grilled quality to the white stonefruits. A little wax and some grapefruit as the wine slowly comes up in temperature. Long length that only hints at what development is to come with a far off creaminess that lingers as a ghost.
This is truly a lovely wine and a prototype for Australian Chardonnay. I’m going to make sure I Ask For It.
Sample courtesy of Define Wine