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translation missing: en.Macedon: Macedon

Welcome to the Victorian Wine Region series, where every week we feature select wine regions from the expanse of Victoria's charming hills and luscious fields. Subscribe to our newsletter today or view other articles in this series to learn more about the wines of the region. 

Location:

Just under an hour's drive north west of Melbourne is one of the best kept secrets of Victorian wine: the Macedon Ranges. The region sits just to the south of Heathcote, and north of Sunbury, and encompasses Mount Macedon, part of the Great Dividing Range.


Like many Victorian wine regions, Macedon's viticultural history can be traced back to the mid 19th century. But the region wasn't truly established until 1968 with the planting of the Virgin Hills vineyard. Others quickly followed, and today Macedon boasts a thriving wine scene with some of Australia's best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay being grown and produced here.

Terroir:

Macedon holds the title for coldest wine region in mainland Australia, thanks to its high altitudes and cooling winds that sweep in from the Southern Ocean. Winter in Macedon sees snow, and regular frosts in spring. It's windswept and wild, and hardly seems like the place to grow premium quality fruit. But through innovative viticulture and careful site selection, vignerons have been able to produce some truly exceptional wines.


The vineyards in Macedon range in altitudes from around 300m to over 800m above sea level. The diversity of altitudes has a clear affect on the resulting wines produced, with the lower sites able to achieve better ripeness more suited to the fuller-bodied reds such as Shiraz and Cabernet. Whereas the higher, cooler vineyards are almost all planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, both of which grow exceptionally well in the cold mountain air. The more northerly parts of Macedon, closer to Heathcote, tend to be slightly warmer, and are capable of producing more muscular, powerful wines. Compared to the south of Macedon where the cooler climate results in pretty, delicate and lighter-bodied wines.


Slope and aspect also affect the overall quality of the fruit grown in Macedon, with most vignerons opting for north-easterly facing sites, planted on slopes so as not to allow frost to form on the ground in spring.


Being part of the Great Dividing Range, the soils throughout Macedon are predominantly granite-based and a mixture of sandy structures and some loam. Overall the soils are skeletal with very low fertility, but this naturally controls vigour and leads to low yields of concentrated fruit. The best sites sit on clay subsoils which retain moisture very well, meaning irrigation is not necessary.

Varieties:

Originally, Macedon was thought of as an area to grow and produce premium sparkling wines from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This proved to be true, however many producers now make high quality still wines from these two varieties, as well as beautiful sparkling using the traditional Champagne methods. The Pinot and Chardonnays produced here are some of the best cool climate wines in Australia, and very highly regarded. Together Pinot Noir and Chardonnay account for around 80% of the total fruit harvested each year in Macedon.


Other than Pinot and Chardonnay, the Macedon wine region also produces excellent cool climate styles of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. These varieties are mostly grown in the lower sites, and the more northerly, warmer parts of the region. The extra couple of degrees of warmth help to achieve good ripeness levels in the fruit, resulting in wines that are concentrated and layered, with a cool-climate elegance and finesse.


The final variety that does very well in Macedon is Riesling, with the aromatic variety excelling in the cooler climate. Racy and dry, the Rieslings made here are fine examples, showing minerality, sharp acidity, citrus and floral notes.

Producers:

Bindi, Curly Flat, Shadowfax, Bress, Cobaw Ridge, Granite Hills, Place of Changing Winds, Josh Cooper, Dilworth and Allain, Lyons Will, Mount Macedon Winery, Virgin Hills.

 

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