Coonawarra Wine Region – King of Cabernet
‘The Honeysuckle Rise’
Lying on Australia’s coast near the border of South Australia and Victoria is Australia’s premier Cabernet Sauvignon region, Coonawarra. Earlier in the twentieth-century, the South Australian government oversaw vine-pulling in this region, as well as the grapes earlier being used for brandy. Since then it’s undergone a huge change, and is now producing beautiful red wines. Essentially, the region has fantastic terroir – great weather, but also wonderful soil and bedrock. It is known as ‘Terra Rossa’ and is a thin layer of calcrete on top of limestone.
The Terra Rossa is extremely high in nutrients, and gets its strength from fresh water, lacustrine (to do with lakes!) limestone. Coonawarra is a cool-climate growing area, so the grapes are intensely fruited, growing in average daily winter temperatures of 9.8 degrees Celsius and average summer of 18.8 degrees Celsius.
South Australia produces 48% of Australia’s wines, but Cabernet Sauvignon makes up only 14% of the grape varieties grown in Australia. So Coonawarra is onto something special here, especially since they are winners of Australia’s best Cabernet Sauvignon in 2013 with Penfolds Bin 169 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 earning 98 points from James Halliday.
If you plan to visit Coonawarra, here’s a helpful guide to know before hand:
Good drinking to you!