Continuing the wonderful wines of New South Wales, these are the 2 inaugural releases from arguably Canowindra’s most famous winery Swinging Bridge. Canowindra is approximately 60kms from Orange where Tom Ward and the team from Swinging Bridge first opened a cellar door in his family’s historic store, Finn’s. Tom has since moved a little closer to the action and opened a 2nd cellar door amongst the leafy courtyard expanse of the Union Bank wine bar/restaurant.
These 2 wines represent excellent vineyard selection from around Orange by Swinging Bridge and combined with classy, distinctive packaging, highlight these 2 stars of the region.
Mrs Payten, Chardonnay, 2012
Named in honour of Tom’s grandmother who recently turned 90, I’d like to think she’d enjoy a couple of sneaky glasses of this mid-afternoon. Made from fruit off the 30 year old Balmoral vineyard, situated at 870 metres, this Chardonnay calls out all that is great about a “modern Australian” style.
With parcels under wild ferment in old French oak, a distinctive nose of rocks, lemon sorbet, peach fuzz and a hint of SAO biscuity lees. Balanced length and flavour with quartz rocks, more peach stonefruit and great use of oak (matured in 1 & 2 year old French oak for 9 – 10 months) to give fleshy texture to the natural spine of Orange’s signature, cool climate, high altitude acidity. Tom’s “Armah” should be chuffed with the honour of giving her name to a great drink.
RRP: $32 Alc: 13%
M.A.W, Pinot Noir, 2012
Along with the Mrs Payten, the M.A.W is named after a key figure in Tom’s life: in this instance, his dad, Mark Ward who only came to Australia in 1966 and decided the land was for him.
Light garnet in the glass, almost the colour of a good home made strawberry jam. Florals and spice with a serious young mushroom cup earthiness lifted with savoury cedar French oak. Medium weight on the palate with red fruit/cherries, balsamic soaked strawberry, juicy acidity with firm muscular savoury fresh forest floor. The flavour tendrils spiral out to hints of pepper and like a ghost, continue long in the mouth after you’ve swallowed.
I was lucky enough to be an Associate Judge for the category at the NSW Wine Awards where this impressed all judges in the Young Pinot Noir class, taking home the trophy. It seems just a touch raw now, but there’s definite greatness that’s going to build, like watching a 2 year old thoroughbred horse winning a race on it’s first outing. All nervous energy yet combined with youthful muscular elegance. One to watch.
RRP: $38 Alc: 13.1%