An overachiever in one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world
The Cooks Lot wines from Orange, New South Wales, are contemporary and elegant expressions of the grape varieties. All offer pure and natural favours and varietal typicity, framed by mouthwatering freshness.
After an initial start, offering wines from across Central Western New South Wales, owner and winemaker Duncan Cook is now focusing on Orange. He acts as an negociant, working with specialised fruit growers across the altitudes (600 - 1,100 meter above sea level) and rich tapestry of soils that the region offers. A hardworking man, his considerable success in wine shows in recent years has been well deserved: the consistency of quality in a Cooks Lot bottle is admirable.
Three lines of wines are offered: regional blends, Handpicked and Iconique Barrique.
Cooks Lot Orange wines
The Cooks Lot Orange wines typically blend fruit from a couple of vineyards of complementary characters. These wines are fantastic value, and are also available in reasonable quantities for those interested in by-the-glass offers etc. The current wines produced are
Cooks Lot 'Handpicked' Orange wines
The Cooks Lot Handpicked wines are select parcels of a given years production. These are detailed and elegant wines that speak of their region in an articulate manner, and without overt tones. The current Handpicked wines produced are
Cooks Lot 'Iconique Barrique' Orange wines
A new set of wines for Cooks Lot, the Cooks Lot Iconique Barrique wines get extra attention from the moment the grapes are picked. They get to wild ferment in Duncan's latest 'toys', beautiful rotating French 900L oak barrels, and production is expected to often be limited to a single barrel. Each bottle is individually numbered, and the expectation is for the wines to be suitable for extended cellaring. The current Iconique Barrique wines available are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Orange is for me one of the most beautiful agricultural areas of not just New South Wales, but the world.
One the younger wine regions of Australia, it has steadily grown its reputation as a source of premium wine. If you’re looking at sourcing wine from areas like the Great Southern (WA), Adelaide Hills (SA) or Yarra Valley (VIC), it’s worthwhile having a look at those of Orange, too, as a great local source of similar styles.
Just like the above regions, you are spoilt for choice as to the variety on offer – the diversity of vineyards, as to elevation, exposure, soil type, and the chosen methods of cultivation, allow for wine styles that in Europe would range from Mainz to Lyon. The common nominator for me tends to be a certain freshness and elegance found across the varieties and wines.
The largely continental climate of the Orange GI is shaped by its high elevation (600-1,1100 metres above sea level). Mild to warm summer mean temperatures are offset by cool to very cool nights during the growing season, with long cool Autumn days contributing positively to flavour development. Humidity is moderate throughout the season, and the region tends to avoid harsh dry days, contributing to good vine health.
Rains fall predominantly in winter and spring, and can be a problem as excess water does not have much in the way of natural paths like rivers. Increasingly dry winters, as well as the driest months (February-April) falling towards the end of the growing season, on the other hand make supplementary irrigation desirable throughout most of the region.
The occasionally notable winds help reduce the major threat of spring frosts, but also has the potential to interfere with fruit set.
The soils within the Orange GI vary widely, but fall into four main groups:
well-drained, friable, deep red-brown clays from basalt
deep red-brown and yellow-brown clay loams of with volcanic ash
red-brown podzolic clay loam overlying a medium clay and shale base and interspersed with gravel
patches of terra rossa associated with visible limestone at the lower elevation