Between 600 metres and 1100 metres a lot can happen.
That's the difference in altitude of the Orange wine region as you head up and up Mount Canobolas.
Most Australian wine regions will change in attitude by only a couple of hundred meters at best.
For Orange, it's around 500 metres and the variance it adds to the type of wines we produce as a region is remarkable.
I often get questioned by visitors: 'what's the grape Orange is best known?'.
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In response my answer is always messy, trying to work my way mentally through that 500 metres and our remarkable producers.
'Well chardonnay is a big deal, there is a massive push for pinot noir, so we concentrate heavily on those Burgundy varietals, which has helped us lead into some incredible sparkling wines being produced. Oh don't forget about shiraz and cabernet, you basically have to produce those in Australia, riesling how could I forget riesling?' ... the answer is always a mess.
Then there are the great experimenters of the region.
Producers who aren't afraid to roll the dice and head well on outside those 'typical' varieties you might find being grown in Australia.
Two producers that fit that tittle as much as anyone in Orange are Angullong and Word of Mouth Wines.
Angullong, who have had a remarkable amount of success when it comes to producing Italian and Iberian Peninsula varieties, have introduced yet another slice of brilliance into their portfolio.
Montepulciano is their latest venture into Italian varieties under their Fossil Hill range and the results are stunning.
Montepulciano traditionally comes from central and southern Italian regions, where for centuries it has made remarkable wines from Abruzzo, Marche and Umbria.
Today though it finds itself reborn on the slopes of Mount Canobolas.
Here it has all the 'New World' charm we would expect, medium bodied dark fruits that are wonderfully approachable, followed with a wonderful herbal character that has us dreaming of a little Tuscan villa lazing around in a European summer's day.
Word of Mouth Wines have been quiet achievers, redefining what varieties matter, not just in the Orange region but perhaps showing the eastern seaboard what can work.
For years, remarkably, Word of Mouth wines had pushed, pioneered and been incredibly success with Pinot Gris. While Pinot Gris can sometimes end up in that throw away category for winemakers, Word of Mouth helped generate the varietals 'moment in the sun' a few years back with metropolitan diners.
The producers' example with the grape is perhaps still the benchmark all others try to replicate in the Eastern States.
Today though they may have found their next champion, little known to Australian consumers Spanish red varietal Mencia.
Mencia is a grape varietal traditionally found in northwest regions of Spain such as Bierzo and Monterri.
On the corner of Wallace Lane and Pinnacle Road this redefining Iberian varietal is showing some very earl promise.
Lush, juicy fruit on display here with currant notes poking through dark liquorice and almost cassis notes.
Spicy peppery notes immediately add a wonderfully secondary note to the wine. This varietal will be very interesting to watch as the world gets a little warmer and Orange slightly changes forever.
David Collins is the restaurant manager and sommelier at Charred, he has been studying wine and the wine industry for several years and will write a wine column for the CWD every second Saturday
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