Rhône Valley, Margaret River
The Northern Rhône is cooler than the Southern Rhône and has a continental climate with warm summers and cold winter. The appellations from North to South are Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Château-Grillet, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Cornas and Saint-Péray.
In Southern Rhône, the climate is more Mediterranean, with mild winters and hot summers. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the most famous appellation but others include Côtes du Rhône, Gigondas and Lirac. Large pebbles are used in the region, placed at the base of the vines to absorb the suns heat during the day, to keep the vines warm at night.
Châteauneuf-du-Papes are blended from the 13 permitted grape varieties, though Grenache usually dominates, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre. These wines can be supremely rich and complex and typically warrant 5-10 years in the cellar for best results.
Margaret River is the name of a river, town and key wine region. It is one of the younger viticultural regions in Australia, quickly gaining popularity for its world-class wine. Located 280km South of Perth in Western Australia, the first plantings were only made in 1967. The region has grown rapidly and is recognised as one of the great wine-producing regions of the world, with over 200 wineries in operation. Made up of predominantly boutique producers, with a number of big player wineries also, the region makes up only 3% of the Australian wine production, but commands over 20% of the premium wine market. The wineries in the region are vibrant, innovative and progressive in their approach to viticulture.
The Mediterranean style climate provides superior maritime growing conditions, with vines not affected by extreme summer and winter temperatures. The region is well known for producing outstanding red wines; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and to a lesser extent Shiraz, Tempranillo and Malbec. Both straight varietals and famous Bordeaux blends can be outstanding.
In the white wines, Chardonnays of great depth and character, and fresh Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends are the main varietals the region is famous for. Lesser quantities of Viognier, Riesling and Muscat are also produced.
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