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The Canberra District Wine Region
Lerida Estate is one of the approximately 40 businesses that currently make wine in the Canberra District wine region. The Australian 'Geographical Indication' Canberra District, the official name of our wine region, was entered in the Register of Protected Names on 9 February 1998 in response to a direction received by the Registrar of Protected Geographical Indications from the Geographical Indications Committee acting under Section 40Z of the AWBC Act 1980.
There are 4 sub-regions in the Canberra District:
Lerida Estate is located in the Lake George sub-region.
The Canberra District wine region has achieved wide recognition for its Shiraz and Riesling wines both nationally and internationally, but because of the geographic diversity of the wine region, it offers much more in variety and style. Some of the other great wines made in this district include Pinot Noir (mainly from the cooler parts of the district including at Lake George), Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Tempranillo, Gruner Veltliner and Sangiovese. Truly Liquid Geography.
There are currently ten 5-star wineries in the Canberra District, and James Halliday recently named 22 wines made from Canberra District fruit (including 19 from the Canberra District) in his ‘Top 100 Wines of NSW’ in the publicaton 'NSW Wines Uncovered'. This is a pretty fantastic achievement for a small wine district.
The region is home to 30 boutique cellar doors, most of which are a 30 minute drive from the city. They are small and intimate, providing an original interactive visitor experience. Visitors are often served by the winemaker, with an opportunity to learn firsthand the passion and expertise required to create authentic, hand crafted cool climate wines. Lerida Estate is located on the Federal Highway at Lake George, and our vineyard and cellar door overlook the Lake
See District brochure at http://www.canberrawines.com.au/the_region/maps/CDWIA_Brochure_2010.pdf
The Lake George Sub-Region
Ancient enigmatic Lake George sits beside the Federal Highway at the outer reaches of Yass Valley Shire. It forms a natural gateway to the National Capital.
Named for King George III, it was first sighted by Joseph Wild in 1820. Known as Werriwaa to the local Aborigines, the name translates as "bad water" due to the salty springs at the Bungendore end.
Believed to be more than one million years old, Lake George is long, flat and extremely shallow, with very small catchments. The Lake’s strange and sudden fluctuations have led to much local folklore.
Evaporation, as well as a tendency for strong winds to blow the water back on itself, seems to explain the seemingly random and mysterious appearance and disappearance of water in the Lake’s basin.
The area is particularly popular with hang gliders who, when wind conditions permit, take off from the escarpment to experience a twenty-five kilometre flight along the length of the Lake. Also, farmers graze sheep and cattle on the Lake when it is empty.
The Lake George "Terroir"
Wine grapes of exceptional quality are grown along the western edge of the Lake.
The Lake George Range rises steeply from the Western shores of the Lake. The alluvial fans at the foot of the range form a perfect location for viticulture. The soils are relatively infertile and drain freely. These conditions encourage deep-rooted, healthy vines and provide enough stress to favour the production of grapes with thick skins and excellent fruit flavours and, as we read in a recent edition of Nature, high levels of anti-ageing polyphenols.
The slopes face East allowing the rising sun to dry out any dew, and so reduce the impact of moulds and mildews. The steepness of the slopes also contributes to vine health by promoting good air drainage and reducing the risk of frost damage during the growing season.
In addition, as with the rest of the district, Lake George has the ideal ripening conditions for super-premium wines. The bright sunny days of March and April combine with cold nights to prolong maturation and retain the delicate aromatic compounds essential for the expression of varietal flavours.
Lake George wine, while rare and hard to find, is sought out by those who know it for its very distinctive fruit characters.