Where’s the World’s Largest Wine Region? It’s not in Europe
The biggest wine region you’ve never heard of is finally making its name known.
There’s a huge chance that most wine enthusiasts won’t know this because it’s clearly been under the radar for a long time. Where is the world’s biggest wine region? It isn’t in Europe or America; it’s down under.
Introducing the Great Southern
Spread across 200,000 acres of land, the Great Southern wine region is the Great Southern region of Western Australia. It lies in the south western corner of Australia and has five sub-regions for wine – the Porongurup, Albany, Mount Barker, Frankland River, and Denmark. It’s the largest of the nine Western Australian wine regions.
Its many vineyards are spread across some of the country’s most magnificent landscapes. The land produces high-quality vines with distinct characteristics, which are grown from a variety of climate and terroir.
This region’s contribution to Australia’s growing wine industry cannot be understated. Its primary climate (Mediterranean and Maritime) allow Great Southern vintners to produce a variety of wine styles, including Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz.
Enter the five wine sub-regions
Porongurup has one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world and enjoys a cool Mediterranean climate of mild winters and warm summers. It’s primary soil type is karri loams, which is excellent for grape growing.
The region is well known for its red wines like Pinot Noir, and white wines such as Chardonnay and Riesling.
Albany has dry summers and moist winters. It has a maritime climate, which is strongly influenced by the Southern Ocean. The humidity during the summer helps in the proper development of the vines. Its soil types are primarily sandy loams resulting from granite and gneissic bedrocks. Because of the weather conditions, the region produces cool-climate varieties of Pinot Noir, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay.
Mount Barker is situated in the centre of the Great Southern. Mount Barker’s marri soils are mostly sandy loams resulting from granite protrusions, which provide low yields that concentrate flavour and colour in the wines. It’s a region that’s just right for growing Shiraz, Riesling, and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s all thanks to it’s gravelly and sandy loams, as well as its cool climate. Many consider it the most important sub-region in Great Southern.
Frankland River is the northernmost sub-region of the Great Southern, as well as the largest. Its Mediterranean climate and highly productive soils – marri loams and ironstone-based gravels derived from gneiss and granite outcrops have a vibrant red colour and uniform depth. This makes it ideal for producing grapes with great freshness, longevity, and intensity. The area produces high quality Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Bordeaux-styled varieties.
Denmark has a very wet and cool climate. Its valleys and steep hills offer unique climate variations, which help in the growing conditions of different grapes. Soil types of this sub-region are mostly sandy loams derived from gneissic rock and granite. The sub-region produces Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay.
Samples from down under
Here are a few choice wines we recommend that are produced in the world’s biggest wine region.
Block 1 Riesling 2012 – Forest Hills Vineyard, Mount Barker, Australia
This wine is produced from mature vines in a region that was specifically selected for the grape variety. This Forest Hills Riesling is enhanced by a lingering and often flinty finish, ensuring graceful aging.
It offers complex aromas of jasmine and citrus blossom. On the palate, it showcases a mix of waxy candles, citrus blossom, and floral notes, with integrated acidity and a crisp mineral finish. It’s great with fresh oysters.
Cherubino ‘Frankland River’ Shiraz 2015 – Larry Cherubino Wines, Frankland River, Australia
This wine has a bouquet of blueberry, black cherry, raspberries, and ground spices in the background. With a focus on intense flavours and a youthful palate, it will require time to evolve. If you have a cassoulet centered meal, choose this particular wine to drink to bring out the meal’s sumptuous flavours.
Lake House Postcard Series Chardonnay 2013 – The Lake House, Denmark, Australia
This Chardonnay offers aromas of white peaches, nectarine, and apple blossoms with hints of spice and grapefruit. It has initial flavours of green apple and citrus with a rich mid-palate of melons and pineapple. Pair this wine with seafood to enhance your meal.
The Hard Road Pinot Noir 2013 – Snake and Herring, Porongurup, Australia
This wine offers aromas of cherry, floral, and meaty characters, with a powerful palate of fine tannins balanced with opulent fruit. This particular Pinot Noir is great with cassoulet or peking duck.