The mofo guide to | Eden Valley
Eden Valley - part of the Barossa (alongside Barossa Valley), this stunning region in South Australia is known for producing some of the finest drops in the country. Here's a quick rundown on the where and what's grown.
East of the Barossa Valley you’ll find Eden Valley - the two of them together make up the Barossa region, but when your sibling carries the family name it’s easy to get overlooked.
Eden Valley has a much cooler rep though - and we’re not just talking about the vibe. Barossa Valley is well known for being warm, but the elevation and undulating topography of Eden Valley assures it of a cool climate, which flexes itself in the wines coming out of here (more on that later). There’s also an even cooler High Eden sub-region which, surprise surprise, contains more of that hilly terrain.
Those hills result in different aspects, elevations and average temperatures across the valley, so you'll find a few different grapes growing here (more of that in a second). Typically the area is defined by warm days and cool nights during the growing season, resulting in a slower rate of ripening than in the Barossa Valley - important for retaining acidity whilst developing sugars in grapes. This looooonnngggg ripening means that the harvest in Eden Valley generally starts a month or so after Barossa Valley begins - with the High Eden harvest coming a month later still.
Eden Valley is famed for its riesling, and we’ll get to why it's so good in a second. Riesling was one of the OGs of Eden Valley, the oldest known recorded plantings way back in 1847 to establish the Pewsey Vale vineyard. Riesling is nudging towards 30% of the Eden Valley, with another 30% share held by that Barossa big gun - shiraz.
Along with cab sav, they form the big trio of Eden Valley, but there’s another quarter of plantings split between numerous varietals, given the variation of slope, aspect and soil on offer here. Wine Australia estimates that there’s over 40 varietals in the ground in the Barossa (split between Barossa Valley and Eden Valley) due to the region's capability and reputation for producing high quality fruit.
If you’re not familiar with Eden Valley riesling already, boy are you in for a treat. It’s world famous for a reason. That cool climate in the Eden Valley means riesling gets a long, slow ripening period it needs to really find itself, and the cool nights help to lock that fresh, snappy acidity into the grapes. What results is a wine that’s often compared to its SA cousin Clare Valley riesling - bright florals, intense lemon and lime citrus, with a supreme clean mineral finish. “Crisp” and “refreshing” are the words that always seem to tumble out of our mouths when we’re drinking Eden Valley riesling, which might not be the most original descriptors, but they’re more often than not the most apt. Eden Valley riesling is capable of ageing for years in bottle too - so don’t be scared to lay a bottle down to see how it develops.
Name two words more iconic in Australian winemaking than “Barossa” and “shiraz”. But whilst Barossa shiraz feels like an old friend, it also feels like we’ve overlooked the extent of what it can do - it’s become synonymous with epic wines from the Barossa Valley that are powerfully fruited, full bodied and spiced. In Eden Valley shiraz though you’ll find more restraint without compromise - medium-to-full bodied, with raspberry, plum, black pepper and savoury olive, though with an elegance and perfume contributed by that slow ripening at elevation. Trust us, you’ll be surprised by how nuanced Barossa shiraz can be when it comes from Eden Valley.
Eden Valley cabernet sauvignon is where those variances in soil, aspect and elevation are really noticeable - cab sav flourishing in the cooler sites and vintages of Eden Valley. Think all that cabernet sauvignon does well and you’ll find it here; perfectly ripened with cassis-y blackcurrant notes, developing those green-accented eucalypt and herbal flavours and aromas in cooler, more elevated sites. Seriously good cab.
Keen to get familiar with the Eden Valley? Shop our latest wines here.
And if you're curious about its regional sibling, make sure to check out our guide to the Barossa Valley too.