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translation missing: en.Great Southern: Great Southern

Welcome to the Western Australian Wine Region series, where every week we feature select wine regions from the stretch of Western Australia's extensive coastlines and varying landscapes. Subscribe to our newsletter today or view other articles in this series to learn more about the wines of the region.

Location:

One of the largest wine regions in Australia, the Great Southern covers an area that spans 100kms north to south, and 150kms east to west. It is comprised of five sub-regions - Frankland River, Porongurup, Denmark, Mount Barker and Albany - with much of the region still unclassified, opening the door for the possibility of future sub-regions.


It is situated along the southern-most part of Western Australia, directly east of Manjimup on its western side, and stretching to the Pallinup River on its eastern border. The region runs along the southern coast line following the Great Australian Bight, and reaches to just north of the Stirling Ranges. Covering such a large area, naturally there is a vast array of climates, topography, soil types and altitude, all leading to an incredible viticultural diversity. It's a younger wine region by Australian standards, but has limitless potential for the production of quality wines.

Terroir:

It's difficult to summarise the terroir of such a vast region - hence the sub-region classifications. The climate ranges from strongly maritime to moderately continental to temperate Mediterranean. Similarly, the topography regions differs greatly from area to area. Rolling hills give way to coastal bays and inlets, overlooked by rocky mountain ranges and high plateaus. This ever-changing landscape, together with the varying climatic conditions creates a wonderful diversity for growers and winemakers to explore through their wines.


The soils of the Great Southern are mostly lateritic gravelly and sandy loams, or sandy loams derived from granite bedrock. Porongurup has deep karri loams, whereas Mount Barker has lighter marri loams. These soils are named after the dominant eucalypt species in each area. The lateritic gravels, heavy in iron and aluminum, are found further south in Albany and Denmark, whereas the soils in Frankland River tend to be a rich, red hue and are primarily derived from granite or gneiss outcrops.


Overall, the Great Southern is a region of dramatic contrasts, which offers winemakers the opportunity to produce a wide range of varieties and styles, and to express the individual terroir of each particular area through their wines.

Varieties:

White varieties do exceptionally well in the Great Southern. Grapes such as Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc are the big winners, though more and more winemakers are now starting to look at alternative varieties such as Gewurztraminer and Viognier.


The red varieties that shine in the Great Southern are Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and to some extent, Merlot. The cooler climates of the region tend to produce wines that are lighter in body, perfumed, and elegant. Again, a number of winemakers are looking to alternative varieties as a point of difference. Recent years have seen a rise in grapes such as Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Pinot Meunier.

Producers:

Castelli, La Violetta, West Cape Howe, Larry Cherubino, Ad Hoc, Harewood Estate, Express Winemakers, Brave New Wine, Singlefile Wines, Plantagenet Wines

 

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