Nagambie Lakes is a sub-region of the Goulburn Valley in Central Victoria, Australia, an hour's drive from the state capital, Melbourne. Nagambie Lakes encapsulates the Goulburn Valley's rich wine-growing history, with some of its vines dating back to 1860, having survived the phylloxera scare of the 1870s. It is also home to the two of the oldest and most highly acclaimed wineries of Australia: Tahbilk (formerly Chateau Tahbilk) and Mitchelton Wines. Nagambie Lakes' unusual grape-growing conditions – and its reputation – were recognized in 2000, when it acquired its own identity as a Geographical Indication.
The Nagambie Lakes system – a large water body which includes Lake Nagambie, the Goulburn River, and many billabongs, creeks and smaller streams – shapes the region's terroir. In fact, its GI status was awarded on the basis that these water sources provide local vineyards with conditions that are unique in Australia for growing grapes. The moderating effect of the water not only results in lower temperatures, but the lake effect also mitigates the risk of frosts, as air is kept moving by onshore breezes. The region's mild mesoclimate assists in prolonging the growing season, resulting in a longer hang time for the grapes – all reflected in the high quality of Nagambie Lakes' wines.
The region's reddish-brown soil, rich in iron oxide – which is both well-draining and moisture-retentive – is also a contributing factor, giving the local wines structure and a distinctive profile.
Along with the Rhone varieties, Nagambie Lakes is also home to a variety of other wine styles. Cabernet Sauvignon performs well in the area, showing slightly more restraint and elegance than examples from the hotter northern part of the Goulburn Valley. Riesling and Chardonnay are also grown in Nagambie Lakes.
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