By James Atkinson
Orange Chardonnay is continuing to improve as the region's vineyards mature and winemakers gain invaluable experience with the terroir, according to Swinging Bridge owner and winemaker, Tom Ward.
Announcing the release of the 2011 Swinging Bridge Reserve Chardonnay ($32), Ward said the quality of Chardonnay from Orange is improving at an exponential rate.
"There is a great sense of collaboration between the winemakers," he said.
"Tasting the region's wines together and sharing our experiences has certainly helped. The growers are also well aware of the importance of lifting quality and work closely with the wineries."
Ward said Swinging Bridge's Chardonnay vineyard was planted over 15 years ago and is now showing the quality that he looks for in a Reserve wine.
This new addition to the Reserve range was grown on the slopes of Orange's Mount Canobolas at an elevation of 910 metres above sea level.
"The grapes produced excellent acidity and fruit purity; a result of the high elevation, aspect, soils and vineyard management."
The 2011 Chardonnay joins the Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon in the Swinging Bridge Reserve range.
"We have also been working on some new wines, including a Pinot Noir and a sparkling," said Ward.
"The patchwork of vineyards across various elevations on Mount Canobolas are producing some exceptional fruit, so we are broadening the sourcing of grapes from some of these different plots."