The vineyards of Western Australia are clustered in the south western corner of this huge region, south of Perth. This area has a unique climate, far cooler than all the other, more eastern wine regions of Australia, and has often been compared to Bordeaux in terms of climate. A small region, comparatively in terms of production, it boasts a huge number of small wineries, and produces a high percentage of the country’s top quality wines. It is arguably, the most premium wine producing region of Australia.
This area was not really discovered until the 1970s, when the Swan Valley, just north of Perth started to produce some high quality wines from the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, however it was only at the beginning of the 21st century, that the wines really began to take their place on the international map. The region has developed very rapidly since those days; between 1999 and 2009, the annual production doubled, and the production in the most famous area, Margaret River, has trebled.
Unlike other states, it is almost entirely focussed on smaller, high quality production, and this is clearly demonstrated by the fact that over 65% of its production is now estate grown and produced, as opposed to 40% at the turn of the century. A flat region ( another similarity with Bordeaux), the coastal influence, and continental, maritime climate have led the region to specialise in the classic Bordeaux Sauvignon/Semillon blend of white, and structured , elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, although there are now some unique, fascinating new wines coming from Tempranillo and Sangiovese grapes, blended with Shiraz and other more traditional styles.
Western Australian Wine Regions
Swan Valley - is the hottest and most northern wine growing area within this region, and where the traditional ‘Australian white Burgundy’ styles came from, until the potential for this region was discovered. A hot area, it now produces ripe Chardonnay, and well balanced Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz wines. But it is also famous for its rich Chenin blancs, and also produces fresh, vibrant Verdehlo successfully.
Margaret River - Read our full guide to Margaret River wines.