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Frankland River is a key subregion of the Great Southern GI Zone. It is situated inland from the western coast, about 250kms east of the Margaret River region, about 100kms north from the southern coast and 350kms south east of Perth. It is one of the oldest regions in Western Australia with the first vineyards being planted here in 1968.
Surrounding the town of Frankland, the region is blanketed with rolling hills dotted with spectacular natural forests and bushland. The Frankland River (which gives the area its name) neatly bisects the region as it winds it way south to empty into the Nornalup Inlet, and then out to the Great Australian Bight.
The Frankland River region enjoys a moderate Mediterranean climate, with very little influence from the coast. Most of the cooling effects come from the slightly higher altitudes, with the majority of vineyards situated between 150-300m above sea level. Warm days, with plenty of sunlight hours, and cool nights that give the vines a respite from the heat of the day, provide optimal growing conditions and aid in the production of high-quality fruit.
Given the undulating topography throughout the region, there are plenty of slopes to plant vineyards on. This range of altitude and aspect creates plenty of diversity for growers and winemakers, with the best vineyards planted on northeast facing slopes.
The soils of Frankland River are quite diverse, ranging from alluvial sands to gravelly loams. These soils are chiefly derived from alluvial deposits from the river over time, and lateric gravelly loams derived from granite or gneissic rocks. They are typically rich, red in color and of uniform depth with some areas carrying marri and karri loams. The wines produced from the Frankland River region show flavours that are typically derived from these granitic, iron rich soils.
Riesling and Shiraz are arguably the region's best varieties. The former tends to produce crisp, mineral-driven wines with incredible purity, while the latter is known for its distinctive pepperiness and savoury tones.
No less deserving of a mention are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - all of which thrive in the moderate temperatures of the region. In recent times, a handful of growers and producers have begun experimenting with alternative varieties such as Tempranillo and Gewurztraminer. Frankland's naturally cooler climate is perfect for many of these more aromatic varieties, through longer ripening periods whilst retaining natural acidity.