Margaret River

The wine-growing region in the far southwest of Australia is one of the youngest on the continent, but has made a name for itself as a true "cold climate" and is therefore serious competition for the other very cool regions such as Eden Valley or Coonawarra. The seaside area was discovered in 1965 by three doctors who were so delighted with the conditions here that they decided to plant vineyards. Others followed, and a certain David Hohnen established his mark with his Cape Mentelle winery; this same David Hohnen was to open a new chapter in New Zealand winemaking history a few years later with the Sauvignon Blanc Cloudy Bay from Marlborough, New Zealand. In contrast to many other wine-growing regions in Australia, there is a comparatively large amount of rainfall here, around 1100 mm, comparable to Styria, but hardly any of it during the grape ripening period. The westerly wind can also cause problems here. Although it comes from the Indian Ocean and is quite mild, it can occur in strong gusts, especially during the time of budding, and thus considerably endanger the growth of the grapes. On the gravelly or sandy soils on clay subsoil, grape varieties that harmonise with this cool climate, such as Riesling or Sémillon, are grown in addition to the typical Australian varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz. Under these climatic conditions, the wines are amazingly elegant by Australian standards, almost mineral and racy. The Cabernets are often compared with those from Bordeaux.
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