Great Southern’s ‘very promising potential’ was orginally spotted by Dr Harold Olmo, visiting professor of viticulture from The University of California, in 1955.Very sparsely populated in the 1950s, the focus was still on farming and forestry and the first vineyard was not planted until 1965; its first commercial wine, made by Plantagenet, emerged in 1975.
However, 60 years after Olmo highlighted Great Southern’s suitability for ‘high-quality light table wines’, Western Australia’s coolest wine region is edging into the limelight.
With a strong focus on single-vineyard wines, producers are taking a terrior-driven approach, often looking beyond their own vineyards and sub-regions to secure the best grapes from the best sites for their single-vineyard ranges.
Here Sarah Ahmed lists her top 10 Great Southern wines to get the taste of the region:
Great Southern’s large footprint and diverse terroir, gives the region a repertoire that extends beyond Margaret River’s core red and white Bordeaux and Chardonnay grapes, also encompassing Riesling, Shiraz and Pinot Noir.
Bone-dry Rieslings – more austere than their South Australian counterparts – have consistently excelled across Great Southern. As well as early picked Chardonnays in Denmark offering a point of difference from Margaret River’s muscular wines. Naturally high in acidity, there is great potential for sparkling wines.