Today we’ll be continuing our grand tour of Australia’s wine regions, this time Western Australia – Australia’s largest state, a place best known for beautiful landscapes and white-sand beaches, but more recently for the fantastic wine coming from it’s cooler south-western tip. It may still only produce 5% of the country’s wine, but the quality coming from the region is second to none!
WESTERN AUSTRALIA WINE REGIONS
It’s no surprise that an isolated, beautiful and rich landscape as Western Australia makes it a great place to yield some captivating wines. Whilst most wines are produced in the cooler climates of the south-west tip, interestingly that’s not the only region to produce great wine.
Western Australia’s wine regions are split into three main regions; Great Southern, Margaret River and Swan Valley.
Margaret River is probably the most well known, producing some of Australia’s most famous Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Margaret River lies to the very South of W.A., receiving a temperate climate thanks to cool inward breezes from the Indian Ocean. Interestingly, Margaret River has recently celebrated 50 years since it’s first vine plantings, so it’s achieved a great deal in a relatively short time!
The Great Southern is home to a wealth of wines, across everything from Pinot Noir to Reisling to Shiraz. It’s sheer size means it excels in many varieties – a rectangle 200 kilometres from East to West, and over 100km from North to South. It has five nominated subregions for wine – the Porongurups, Mount Barker, Denmark, Frankland River and Albany. Each has a distinct terroir and climate, but on the whole it is likened to a Mediterranean climate, ideal for Reisling, Chardonnay, Cab Sauv, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Malbec.
The Swan Valley is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions and the hottest wine region in Australia. For almost 150 years it was the only significant wine-producing region in Western Australia and today it’s also home to the state’s largest winery. Wines from the region are typically generous in style, rich in fruit flavour and higher in alcohol. The Swan Valley is among the largest sources of Western Australia’s wine, particularly for Vhenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Verdelho.
WINES TO TRY FROM WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Western Australia wineries work with a breadth of grape varieties, though Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are most widely recognized. Margaret River is predominately known for its Western Australia red wine, while Great Southern is famed for Riesling.
Whilst it’s nigh on impossible to narrow it down to just a few, there are a few firm favourites at Baedeker, all of which are available to try by the glass or bottle and to take home.
- Juniper Fiano, 2016
A great summery drink from Margaret River that is dry and pleasant. If you like a white with body, this one’s for you!
- Cullen Kevin John Chardonnay, 2015
A lovely Chardonnay with precision and purity, yet revealing complexity and layers that continue to emerge from the palate.
- Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014
A young red wine being hailed as Australia’s answer to the Bordeaux blend. Youthful, beautifully balanced and an instant classic.
- Chapman Grove Atticus Chardonnay, 2008
Single vineyard Margaret River Chardonnay that is well – balanced, medium bodied, offering generous levels of fruit, good acidity and a long finish.
- Howard Park Cabernet Sauvignon
Matured for 18 months in French oak barriques. Totally opaque black dark red core with a dark red hue. Pronounced blackcurrant and ripe mulberry aromas with hints of black olive and subtle spicy bay leaf notes.