Bendigo Wine Region
The Bendigo wine region is one of the largest in Victoria for area, but ironically is made up of predominantly small, artisan winemakers. Although the perception of the Bendigo wine style is often just of a producer of robust reds, the region offers an extremely diverse range of both white and red wine at a variety of prices. The best wines in the region are widely considered among Australia's best wines, yet a number of 'undiscovered' small producers continue to refine their craft without the attention of Halliday, Robinson or Parker. In order to gain a better understanding of the wines within the region, we might consider it within the context of four sub-regions.
The northern part of the Bendigo region is made up of mostly red clay-loam soil, whose element make-up and depth have proven highly conducive to red wine grape production. The wines here have considerable weight and power, which has contributed to them, and combines more established vineyards such as Passing Clouds and Blanche Barkly, with highly awarded newcomers such as Pondalowie, Mount Moliagul and Turner's Crossing.
The central valleys describes the spread of vineyards scattered through the cool slopes and creek flats south and east of Bendigo town, characterized by a range of soil types and temperature moderated by vineyard orientation and altitude. These areas have produced some stunning white wines and complex, spicy red wines, including those from Chateau Leamon, Mandurang Valley and Killicrankie.
Harcourt & Mount Alexander
The vineyards in this area are generally at a higher altitude that those further north and temperatures are on average about 2-3 degrees cooler. The resultant Shiraz wines show distinctive spice and pepper, whilst the Cabernets have wonderful balance and structure. The additional acidity gained through the greater diurnal temperatures has also proven to benefit white wine and rose production. Leading producers include Blackjack, Langanook and Sutton Grange.
This large expanses west of Bendigo from Maldon to Maiden Gully is formerly gold country, where the clay based soil is dispersed with rugged outcrops of quartz and ironstone that yield extremely low quantities of wine grapes with complex, concentrated flavours. The wines in this area can have a unique, linear structure that creates wines of great age-worthiness and complexity, including those of Balgownie Estate and Sandhurst Ridge.