France, Great Southern
Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.
Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)
The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
Set among the backdrop of Australia’s most majestic landmarks, the Great Southern Wine Region boasts an incredible size fit for both winemaker and enthusiast. With its five sub-regions of Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker, Porongurup and Albany, winemakers are treated to an abundance of unique soil types and weather conditions, while enthusiasts can enjoy an array of wine styles with something for every palate.
The region's most recent trends showcase just how popular it’s becoming. Wineries in the region are being blessed by the cooler climate which is conducive to the production of the extremely popular Australian Shiraz. Pinot Noir enthusiasts can also expect great things to happen with the southern climate and terroir being superb for wine production. On top of that, the region is also upping the ante in terms of competition, being among the best in Australia for Riesling, a fierce competitor to South Australia’s renowned Clare Valley.
You could almost say that wines and the Great Southern were made for each other!
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