TNs: Bloodwood Wines, Orange, NSW, Australia

I was not expecting this in Orange of all places - a really good tasting at Bloodwood in Orange. I was very impressed by their range, which featured some really well-made wines. I thought some of the reds were very good, and the dry Rieslings excellent. Had a really nice chat with Rhonda and Stephen Doyle, the owners as well. Stephen, the winemaker, is very serious about his vines and non-interventionist wine-making. He picks at the right time, allows the fruit and land to speak, and makes some lovely, elegant wines that are quite hard to come by in the new world. Excellent value too.

2008 Bloodwood Riesling - Australia, New South Wales, Central Ranges, Orange
This was rather good, although I preferred the 2009 quite a but more. Still though, a pretty accomplished wine in its own right. Nose showed drops of diesel, plenty of ripe lemons, grapefruit, guava and a but of flint. Dry palate had lots of juicy acidity running through more ripe citrus fruit tones and a little biscuity note around the edges. Well-integrated and balanced all the way into the finish, which had hints of ginger and spice. (89 pts.)

2009 Bloodwood Riesling - Australia, New South Wales, Central Ranges, Orange
This was really nice. Some distance better than the more reticent 2008 I thought. Lovely nose. Rich floral and lychee imprints were matched with sweet nectarine notes, a touch of nuts and some diesel drops in the distance. The palate had been fermented dry, yet there was a lovely fragrance reminiscent of dry Alsace wines, with a flowery backdrop and some ripe guava fruit. Nice amount of acidity and some extract gave the wine a nice firm backbone. Finish was longish too, with more flowers and a little grapefruity lift. I like this very much. It would be interesting to see how it ages. (91 pts.)

2006 Bloodwood Chardonnay - Australia, New South Wales, Central Ranges, Orange
Pretty decent. Nose showed butter, cream and oak, along with some toasty yellow fruit. Very fresh and flinty on the palate, I suspected not much malo had been done - turns out that they stopped it at around the half-way mark. That gave rise to a slight creaminess, but it was more fresh white fruit than anything. there was just a little watery hint at the back-palate that I did not quite like. Otehrwise, this was a nice, fresh, well-balanced effort. Should be a great accompanainment to all sorts of food. (88 pts.)

2005 Bloodwood Chardonnay Schubert - Australia, New South Wales, Central Ranges, Orange
I found this a rather impressive new world Chardonnay. Clearly higher alcohol and bigger on the nose than the straight Chard, but also with more layered nuances, with white fruit complemented with integrate almond and spice notes. I thought the palate was rather more impressive than the bouquet led on, with lemony, grapefruity citrus notes running alongside ripe apples and almond nut, with crisp acidity and some flinty mineral giving the wine a nice sense of definition and delineation. Finish was longish too, with white fruit, toasty nut and spice notes rounding the wine off. I enjoyed this. (89 pts.)

2007 Bloodwood Shiraz - Australia, New South Wales, Central Ranges, Orange
Rather impressive cool climate Shiraz. Quite a bit of aromatic complexity on the nose, with leather, meat and earth running alongside lots of peppery spice and some vanilla-infused oak notes, and plenty of underlying rich, sweet aromas of blueberries and sour plums. Palate attack with a rush of acidity. Again, there were some meaty, leathery notes, along with nice clean cassis and dark cherries, all supported by fine, rather chewy tannins. Finish was good too. Prunes and plums mingled and lingered in the mouth for quite some length. Pretty nice. (89 pts.)

2006 Bloodwood Cabernet Franc - Australia, New South Wales, Central Ranges, Orange
I really liked this. Better than many of the over-green Loires I have tried, yet without a single hint of the sickly sweetness that many new world variations tend towards. Nose was very attractive, with tobacco leaf mingling with lovely fresh raspberry notes, roasted vine leaves and a toss of earth. Lovely balance on the palate - very fresh, and well textured - with ripe red fruit, damson plums, a touch of spice and well roasted capsicums. Finish was long, smoky and toasty, with a little pull of chalky tannins. Very interesting wine. (90 pts.)

2005 Bloodwood Cabernet Sauvignon - Australia, New South Wales, Central Ranges, Orange
Another very impressive wine. Lovely, very Bordelais nose, with warm, earthy scents of cigar box, tobacco, wet tea leaves, a hint of undergrowth and some dark fruit. Palate was ripe, with rich cassis and dark cherries, yet very clean, with plenty of fresh acid. Quite a bit of extract here, so the tannins showed a little chewy, but the wine, on a whole, was very impressive nonetheless. (90 pts.)

2005 Bloodwood Cabernet Sauvignon Maurice - Australia, New South Wales, Central Ranges, Orange
A twist on a classic left-bank blend, with 75% Cab Sauv, 10% Shiraz and 15% Merlot and Cab Franc. This was a lovely wine. Nose was rich, ripe and plump, without ever being candied or sweet. Plum and cassis fruit was mixed with tobacco and cigar box scents, and earthy, meaty nuances. Palate showed great balance again - nice, deep cassis tones and a touch of spice were wed to fresh acidity and ripe tannins. Lots of layered texture and some depth here. My only fault was that the tannins were not the most refined in the world, just leaning ever so slightly towards the chunky side, but really, the wine was very well-made otherwise. Finish had some satying power, with cassis and just slightly drying prune notes rounding the wine off. Very impressive - I now have a few bottles in my cellar. Should improve with time, hitting its peak in 5-6 years’ time. (91 pts.)

2008 Bloodwood Riesling Silk Purse - Australia, New South Wales, Central Ranges, Orange
A botrytised Riesling. Not bad, but not one of the stronger wines in the range I thought. Nose showed a touch of kerosene, some savoury umami and mushroom scents, and some semi-dried, over-ripe fruit. Palate was sweet, showing quite a bit of botrytis, some preserved lemons, melons and ripe, orange marmalde tones. I thought it needed some acidity to lift the weight of the wine. Finish was just that bit too syrupy for me, tailing off with a little kumquat note. Note half-bad, but not that fantastic a wine either. (88 pts.)

Not a fan of most aussies, but the wines from this region are refreshing for their acidity and balance.

They are. This was my second visit there, and I was really impressed by the progress the region as a whole is making.