The mofo guide to | King Valley
A few hours north-east of Melbourne you’ll hit Victoria’s High Country, where you’ll find new treasures emerging from the historic gold fields. There’s a huge range of varietals finding home here thanks to the unique conditions, producing some stellar still and sparkling wines. Here’s a quick rundown of the need-to-knows.
The King Valley is a comparatively hidden gem in Victoria, not as famed as the Yarra Valley but equally known for producing some top-notch drops. A cooler climate and high-altitude vineyards make for slow-ripening grapes with excellent flavour development and acid retention, due to the long sunny days and cool nights the vines experience during the growing season.
King Valley is known for its Italian-influenced plantings, for which we have to give thanks to the migrant populations that settled here in the 40s and 50s. You’re typically going to find varieties that have their home in the heartlands of Northern Italy, with notable plantings of prosecco (glera), moscato, pinot grigio, sangiovese, nebbiolo, fiano, barbera - though pinot, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, merlot, shiraz and cabernet sav can all be found in abundance too. Yum, yum and yum.
The key wines
The King Valley has staked its claim as Australia's premium producer of prosecco. The bubbles fizzing out of the region are famed for doing everything that prosecco does well - we’re talking a sparkling wine with crisp acidity, delicate florals and fruits, and those bright refreshing bubbles that make you feel like you’re on top of those alpine hills, wherever in the world you’re enjoying a drop.
White wine lovers rejoice, because you’ll find some seriously good grigio coming out of these here hills, doing everything you’d expect a good grigio to do for you too. You’ll find those telltale pears, green apples, and vibrant citrus, with a racy acidity that’ll make your mouth water.
Succulent and savoury sangio is a given in the King Valley, and here you’ll find wines with heaps of cherry, strawberry, and herbs in the glass, plus that punchy acidity from the cool nights and altitude. Coupled with some fine, firm tannins, King Valley sangio is a perfect pairing for rich tomato-based pasta dishes or grilled meats.
Another Italian classic that’s found a home here, with all the fabled complexity you’d expect. Think full bodied with fine supple tannins and rich red fruits, dried herbs and florals, with an undercurrent of earthy leather and spice. Flavour and structure in spades, perfect for a feast.