LIQUOR / Pinot Noir
Technically a sub-district of the Barossa Zone the Eden Valley's viticulture begins alongside that of the Barossa. The first records of vineyards date back to 1847 with the establishment of the Pewsey Valley vineyard. The Eden Valley is more elevated than the Barossa Valley floor proper with altitude between 350 -550 metres resulting in two significant climatic factors affecting viticulture; cooler climatic conditions, (later harvest) and the significant moderating influence of wind making vineyard site selection of utmost importance. Topographically the Eden Valley is varied and diverse, with steep sloping vineyards requiring careful matching of variety to site. There are a number of different soil types found in the Eden Valley predominately clay loams and loamy sand with gravels of quartz and ironstone gravel in parts. However, water stress is a significant stress for vineyards as water resources are limited to small dams.
The principle varieties cultivated are Riesling and shiraz, though chardonnay, merlot and cabernet are also cultivated. Eden Valley Riesling tends to be perfumed with characters not dissimilar to Clare Valley Riesling, of lime juice, honeysuckle and high fresh acidity. Eden Riesling perhaps lacks the combination of finesse and power of Clare Rieslings, though they are undoubtable amongst the best in Australia. Outstanding producers include Henschke Julius, Pewsey Vale, Leo Buring and Heggies.
As with the Barossa, shiraz is the most significant red grape variety planted. The fame of Eden Valley Shiraz has grown since the 1950's when Cyril Henschke bottled the first vintage of Mount Edelstone Shiraz, in 1952, followed by the now internationally recognised Hill of Grace single vineyard shiraz from ancient vines planted in 1860's, some of which are the oldest vineyards in the world. Typically Eden Valley shiraz displays cooler fruit profiles than Barossa shiraz, with flavours of ripe plum, red fruits, liquorice and distinct blue violet aromas. They are typically finer and more elegant than their Barossa counterparts, very structured with ripe, balanced tannins. Outstanding producers are Henschke and Yalumba.
James Halliday's Wine Atlas of Australia, James Halliday