“Canberra is an exciting region at the moment, and there are many new players hitting unthinkable heights of quality… Eden Road Wines is a force to be reckoned with.” Nick Stock
First cab off the rank as we delve in to great wines from bushfire affected regions is the boutique producer in the Australian Southern Highlands, Eden Road, situated in the Canberra region, in the town of Murrumbateman. Eden Road shares a fence with the more widely known Clonakilla, who we recently mentioned has made the decision to not produce wine in the 2020 vintage. We drove directly past these two wineries on January 2, with a heavy blanket of smoke sitting across the region, providing about 50 meters of visibility. Eden Road also make a Syrah from Gundagai which has been smoke affected, and some incredible cool climate Chardonnay from nearby Tumbarumba, which also had fires on their doorstep in early January. (Eden Road recently raised over $8000 for the local Tooma Rural Fire Service).
This Canberra Syrah is a single vineyard wine from a block that is located directly by the winery. There is a cellar door worth visiting if you are in the area, and you can build a great day with visits to other wineries such as Clonakilla and Helm for some Riesling. The vineyard is a couple of hundred meters from the famous Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier site, and while it might not have that exuberance, it packs plenty of style and quality at a more modest price point.
At 640m above sea level, the climate here is cool, and this gives a medium bodied, spice laden Syrah that is sleekly textured, fine and long. Flavours are cool red cherry, light plum, cranberry, blueberry with smells of granite, pepper and cardamom. Classic Syrah descriptors with an elegant frame. The vines were planted in 1995 so are in their sweet spot, with over 20 years vine age, digging in to some ancient decomposing granitic soils.
The winemaking is very gentle, with a light pressing of the fruit to large format (500 litre) French oak barrels, of which only 10% are new, where the wine sits for 16 months. This is harnessing the elegance, providing silky ripe tannin and allowing the quality of the fruit to shine through. Note only the best barrels are selected for this single vineyard block, with other barrels going to the cheaper Eden Road Long Road Syrah.
The wine will comfortably last 10 more years in the cellar, though we like to see these Canberra Syrah’s early in their life where the freshness of fruit and raw spices are on display. I would be opening these in the next five years. Give a good decant, at least 45 minutes, and serve in large format Shiraz/ Bordeaux glassware.
The wine is versatile and will go with game meats, barbecued lamb or some good cheddar. Some good reviews below.
A beautiful, silky, spicy, perfumed red of fine and sleek tannin profile tightening just-ripe red cherry and cranberry flavours with regional blue fruits jostling. The gist is, this is very elegant, seamless and long, with lots of lovely fruit flavour. Delicious for now. 95 Points, Mike Bennie
From the Eden Road estate vineyard at Murrumbateman. 25-year-old vines. Dark purple red. Syrah by name and nature. Spicy black and blue fruit, texture and depth. It has concentration and freshness too. Layered, without any heaviness, and a lovely long, crunchy finish. 95 points, Halliday Wine Companion