Former Southcorp head winemaker Philip Shaw last week launched his new range of cool climate wines in London.
Shaw – who resigned from the crisis-hit Australian company in 2003 – is now CEO of Cumulus Wines, producing a range of cool climate wines in the Orange region of New South Wales.
There are two ranges, Rolling and Climbing, comprising Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blends, Chardonnays, Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot blends, and red single varietals. All are in the £6.99-£7.99 price bracket.
A ‘reserve’ Merlot and a Cabernet, called Chasing, will follow.
The wines come from 508ha of vines around 10 years old. Half the vineyard is located in the Orange appellation, which by definition must be above 600m. The rest is in the Central Ranges appellation.
Orange is one of the highest and coolest wine regions in Australia. Vineyards are planted to a height of 1100m: the highest Cumulus vineyard is at 1000m. On average the region is cooler than Bordeaux with the same rainfall and more sunshine.
Plenty of ultra violet light is perfect for flowering. The cool, windy growing season means stressed vines and concentration of flavour. Rainfall comes in spring and winter, while the three driest months are the ripening period of February, March and April.
‘We are going for elegance and bright fruit,’ Shaw told decanter.com, adding that he thought Merlot, with its fine textures, had the greatest possibilities in the region.
‘We’re going to make the Cabernet-Merlot blend our hallmark. It’s my favourite of the lot – and it’s the one I sweat over the most.’
Shaw also said that while Bordeaux was to an extent ‘losing its regionalilty’, his Bordeaux blends like the Cabernet-Merlot would be ‘more European than Australian in style.’
Shaw also owns his own vineyards in Orange, from which he sells fruit to Rosemount for its award-winning Orange range.
Written by Adam Lechmere