The coolness from the altitude of the Adelaide Hills impacts strongly on the region's wines, in addition to the changing seasons and the skill and passion of its winemakers. Vines were planted in the Adelaide Hills as early as the 1870s however due to the challenges of cool-climate viticulture in those early days, most of these vines were removed by the 1930s. The regeneration of the Adelaide Hills region started in 1970s and gained rapid pace with the rise in popularity of cool climate wines in the 1980s and 1990s and this trend continues today.
The cooler climate defines the Adelaide Hills and provides them with a significant point of difference to other South Australian regions that has allowed it to spearhead the evolution of Australian wine in recent years. The winemaking evolution continues today, and it is now a hotbed of wine creativity; home to bold, boundary-pushing grape growers and winemakers.
ADELAIDE HILLS SNAPSHOT
The regeneration of the area as a wine region began with winemaker Brian Croser and his family planting Chardonnay in the region in 1979. Brian had identified the potential of the region as one of the best places in Australia to plant cool climate loving varieties. He was soon joined by other Australian wine pioneers including Stephen George at Ashton Hills, Geoff Weaver in Lenswood and Michael Hill Smith and Martin Shaw at Shaw and Smith.
Today there are around 100 producers in Adelaide Hills who have planted over 4,000 hectares of vines between them. While still a young wine region, the Adelaide Hills has been acclaimed around the world for many years for wonderful expressions of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz. The region has played a vital part in the evolution of Australian wine and is itself constantly evolving. Emerging varieties are finding a home in the Hills and it is home to cutting-edge winemakers pushing the boundaries and expanding the possibilities for fine Australian wine.
This is the most widely planted white variety in the Adelaide Hills and is often referred to as the benchmark for Sauvignon Blanc in Australia. The style tends towards ripe tropical flavours with hints of gooseberry and herbaceousness, with crisp acidity, great length and intensity.
Adelaide Hills is the leading region in South Australia for the production of high quality Pinot Noir. The style is typically medium-bodied with ripe cherry and strawberry fruit with soft tannins. A proportion of Pinot Noir contributes to the production of high quality sparkling wines.
While the concept of Shiraz and Pinot Noir performing well in the same region may be a beguiling concept to some, the success of these varieties in the Adelaide Hills speaks volumes for the size of the region and diversity of microclimates available to grape growers and winemakers. In recent years the region has become a leader in cool climate Australian Shiraz, producing wines with elegance, length and balance.
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