Edenflo’s Andrew Wardlaw turns out classically fragrant expressions of Eden Valley syrah, but it is perhaps his eccentric approach to blending and guerrilla winemaking that is making the biggest waves. The ‘Fresh Prince’ marshals a quartet of red varieties with decent crossover on a Venn diagram but are rarely all seen together, offering a fragrantly floral and spicy nose, with earthy notes, red and dark fruits and a palate of chewy, grapey tannins and fresh zip.
A blend of pinot noir, grenache, syrah and cabernet sauvignon, with no variety dominating, rather the whole meshes neatly, with notes of red fruits and earthy dark ones, dusky blue and red florals, cassia, star anise, plum skin, woodsy herbs and a leafy lift to close. This is midweight, with pithy, grapey tannins, giving this a charmingly chewy feel, with bright acidity providing a fresh lift. Unadorned with oak or other trappings, this is a natural-feeling wine of bright purity and fresh drive, layered with spicy detail.
Themes of this wine
Eden Valley is the higher altitude section of the Barossa zone, nestling up against the Adelaide Hills and being meaningful cooler than its neighbour, the Barossa Valley. Riesling and shiraz are the key varieties, both typically being cast in an elegant light, with shiraz fragrant and lifted, though still with plenty of power, while riesling is characterised by race and verve.
Most wines are a blend of some sort. It may be a blend of the same variety from the same vineyard, but with different blocks, clones, aspects, picking dates, ferments and then barrels (if barrel aged), each batch is a little different. Sometimes everything goes back in, and sometimes a winemaker will select the parcels to make a particular style of finished wine or just the best wine they can. This principle is used across varieties, too, with many traditional regions in the Old World blending across varieties to make a complete whole, with some grapes adding fragrance or fruit depth, some tannin, some acid… the art of the blender is to get the balance right. Increasingly, winemakers are breaking the established rules of these classic blends, making surprisingly new expressions from varieties that have rarely shared a bottle prior.
Pinot noir is one of the wine world’s most revered grapes. Notoriously fickle to grow and make, it makes what many see as the pinnacle of red wine in France’s Burgundy, but it’s also found many happy homes around the world, and none more so than in Australia across our cooler viticultural regions.
The great grape of the Southern Rhône, grenache, has also found many homes around the world, from Spain, to Italy, to California, while Australia is home to the world’s oldest productive grenache vines, planted in 1948. Today, a renaissance is seeing the grape championed, with makers in McLaren Vale arguably turning out the most compelling examples.
Shiraz dominates the Australian wine industry, accounting for nearly a third of this country’s vines. The grape’s traditional home is in France’s Northern Rhône, with wines that combine elegance and power, while Australia is perhaps best known for the muscular styles from warmer areas. Today, drinkers of Australian shiraz are spoilt for choice with expressions ranging from the elegant and spicy to the monumental.
The world’s most prolific wine grape, cabernet sauvignon has been planted in Australia since the first days of viticulture here. Today, its prime homes are arguably Margaret River and Coonawarra, but the Yarra Valley and even the Hunter Valley also mount very convincing cases. It’s spiritual home, though, is in France’s Bordeaux region, where it is responsible for some of the world’s most famous and expensive wines.