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Boutique wines from Orange, NSW, Australia

Orange is a cool-climate region in New South Wales, a couple of hours over the dividing range from Sydney. As itís on the highlands, the height of the vineyards ensures a long, cool growing season thatís recently been exploited by the likes of Rosemount to produce high quality grapes. I was sent the following samples from a company called Australian Top Drop, who concentrate on marketing wines from a range of small wineries in the region. The wines themselves are a bit of a mixed bag, as the notes show.

Contact details:
Australian Top Drop, Brolga, Cudal NSW 2864, Australia
Tel: 00612 6364 2460 E-mail: indemack@netwit.au 
In the UK: Susie Melville (smelville1@btinternet.com)

Gold Dust Chardonnay 2001 Orange
Slightly soapy chemical nose showing some nutty butterscotch character. The palate is soft, nutty and short with a bit of oxidation evident. Drinkable but not terribly impressive. OK 72/100

Gold Dust Riesling 2001 Orange
Sweet honeyed edge to the lively, limey nose. Nicely textured, light lemony palate, with the citrus fruit complemented by good acidity. Nice food wine. Very good 84/100

Hamiltons Bluff Sangiovese 2001 Canowindra
From a region between Orange and Cowra in New South Wales, this is a bit disappointing. Slightly oxidised nose with notes of alcohol, leather and spice. The palate is spicy with a distinctive savoury edge and flavours of herbs and cherries. Iím not so keen on this. Good/very good 78/100

Hamiltons Bluff Grossi Unwooded Chardonnay 2001 Canowindra
Soft, nutty, slightly soapy nose. The palate is gently herby: the fruit is faded and flat Ė oxidised? Deep colour suggests this is the case. OK 72/100

Hamiltons Bluff Reserve Chardonnay 2001 Canowindra
Remarkable deep golden colour. This is what Aussie Chardonnay used to taste like! Powerful nose of vanilla and coffee, savoury and oaky. The palate is showing lots of spicy vanilla flavour. I quite like it, but it is undeniably massively oaky. Very good+ 86/100

Bush Piper Sauvignon Blanc 2001 Orange
Fresh pineapple and gooseberry nose with a grassy edge. The palate is quite crisp and herby with grassy fruit. Nothing flashy or terribly refined about this, but it is clean and quite fresh in a commercial style. Good/very good 79/100

Bush Piper Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 Orange
Rich, slightly sweet fruit with a herby green pepper edge. Thereís some chocolatey, spicy richness to the palate. Good intensity. This soft, approachable wine is quite tasty. Very good 84/100

Bush Piper Shiraz 2001 Orange
Deep colour. Intense minty, spicy nose. The palate is savoury and full with rich, ripe fruit, good acid and tannic structure.  A bit rough at the edges but lots of flavour here. Very good+ 85/100 

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