Few wineries as young or as small as Eden Road have won so many prestigious awards. Their dedication to searching for great terroir, coupled with a desire and devotion to unlocking the potential and uniqueness of local fruit. Since its very first Vintage when it won the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy, Long Road Shiraz has quickly become one of the most storied and eagerly sought after Shiraz wines. Part of the intrigue of Long Road Shiraz stems from the fact that it was born to express the new and exciting wine regions around the high country of NSW, as an elegant and contemporary style of Shiraz. The style has evolved since 2008, when exploring the high country of NSW predominantly involved Canberra and the Hilltops region. It has now extended to include the hidden jewel of the Gundagai region as a thriving source for Long Road Shiraz.
The home of Eden Road stretches across the deeply eroded mountain ranges of Southern New South Wales. The Eden Road estate vineyard and winery is located just south of the village of Murrumbateman, at the heart of what is known as the Canberra Wine District. The Long Road Shiraz continues to fascinate wine show judges and wine critics, winning three trophies at the Canberra regional wine show for Best Shiraz, Best Red Wine and best wine of the show. Long Road Shiraz then went on to win Australia’s most sought after trophy, the Jimmy Watson memorial trophy at the Melbourne Wine Show. As recently as November 2012, The Long Road Shiraz won the Trophy for Best Shiraz at the National Show.
Eden Road also makes wines from vineyards established in ideal locations on the Hilltops region. Amongst the sheep paddocks of Gundagai, the mountains of Tumurumba and home in the village of Murrumbateman lies some of the oldest soils on earth. Despite being a young company, Eden Road is privileged to be making wine from some of the oldest soils on Earth. Formed over 400 million years ago by rich rain forests and dense wetlands, this environment is ready to be developed into world class terroir.
The talented team at Eden Road were certainly not the first to identify the potential for this wonderful country. In the early 1980s, research programmes funded by the largest wine companies in Australia discovered new regions for growing vines capable of producing great red and white wines. That source identified a then-logging community of Tumurumba perfect for growing Chardonnay and Pinot. Gundagai's rich terra rossa soil, deposited from South Australia some 1.5 million years ago, ensures an ideal setting for producing quality Shiraz.
In a separate development in the early 1970s, a scientist from the Australian CSIRO and Department of Agriculture pioneered NSW vineyards in what is now misleadingly the Canberra Wine District. The two locations were to the north east of Canberra on Lake George, and a tiny village to the North West called Murrumbateman. Eden Road's estate was planted two years later in 1975 on this site.
In addition to hand tending their Estate Vineyard at Murrumbateman, Eden Road works with vineyard owners to foster a natural approach to vineyard management, going beyond the standard modern model of winemaking. Their goal is to collaborate with vignerons to express the Australian high country, some of the oldest soils on Earth, and the vision of Eden Road Wines. In the weeks preceding vintage, Eden Road continuously analyse samples of grapes for sugars, baume and pH, total acidity and ripeness. Nick Spencer and Hamish Young constantly inspect the vineyards, bringing back fruit samples to be tested in Eden Road’s laboratory. The early expression of the character of vintage year in the maturing fruit guides the decision on the perfect moment for harvesting. Eden Road makes wines to be fully appreciated when they are mature, the vinification is gentle and unobtrusive.
Before winemaking can begin, selecting the right vines to plant takes place. Over the last two years, Eden Road has consolidated their Estate vineyard, focusing on the varieties that are ideal for the terroir of Murrumbateman. This time has also been spent managing and treating the soils, with Eden Road returning to various traditional, natural and manual methods to manage the vineyard. Their hands on approach ensures attention to detail, an approach made possible given the boutique nature of the winemaking.