Spring is a time of celebrating rebirth and revival, a season that is full of new possibilities. Each year the Barossa Grape & Wine Association hosts ‘A Taste of Spring with Eden Valley Riesling’ where the diversity of the region is celebrated. This year 70 current and museum release Eden Valley Rieslings were available for tasting.
The high country of Eden Valley has a long history of viticulture, equaling that of the neighbouring Barossa Valley, with the first plantings at Pewsey Vale vineyard in 1842. Eden Valley covers an area as large as that of the Barossa Valley proper, but is less intensely developed. Water availability is a limiting factor in the expansion of vineyards, as is suitable sites. One has only to note the exposed rocky outcrops that sit atop the hills and ridges to appreciate the massive mineral content of the terrain – little wonder the wines express so much minerality.
The Eden Valley’s growing season temperatures are lower than those of the Barossa Valley, with the final stages of ripening and harvesting taking place in much cooler conditions. Harvest occurs from mid March to early May – typically three to five weeks later than the Barossa. The later ripening pattern which can result in distinct varietal flavour characteristics. Rieslings from the northern Eden Valley show citrus and pineapple characters, central Eden Valley has elevated lime floral notes, with the southern and western end showing minerality coupled with lime zest herbaceousness. As the wines age, marmalade and toasty nuances appear on nose and palate. Young or mature, Eden Valley Rieslings are a classic expression of variety and region.
2012 Vintage Report: Eden Valley
Nigel Blieschke, Prue Henschke, Louisa Rose, Nicki Robins.
As in the Barossa Valley, picking began approximately one month earlier than in 2011. The earlier varieties, Riesling and Semillon, and the later Cabernet Sauvignon set well and provided well balanced crops.
Riesling yields were mixed, but quality is excellent, with lovely natural acidity and fine but intense flavours. Chardonnay yields were also mixed – ranging from average to 20% down. The wines are complex and layered, again showing great natural acidity. Viognier yields were 30% down on average, but flavours are intense and varietal.
Shiraz yields ranged from average to 25% down, with strong wines of very intense colours, fragrant aromas and fine tannins due to the cool nights. The last of the cooler sites were harvested in mid April.
Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon were outstanding in 2012, with flavour development and acids progressing smoothly due to the cool, overcast conditions in spring and early summer.
Further ‘Taste of Spring’ images available at: flickr.com/photos/barossadirt/