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THE SUB REGIONS OF MARGARET RIVER
In 1999, at the behest of Vanya Cullen and Keith Mugford, Dr Gladstone prepared a conceptual plan of the sub-regions, coinciding with an extraordinary regional tasting of cabernet sauvignon or blends. Guess what? The tasting of 39 producers’ wines proved there were indeed differences between the sub-regions (except Treeton, as there were no entries).From the warmest in the north to the coolest in the south, Dr Gladstone’s identified Carbunup, Yallingup, Wilyabrup, Treeton, Wallcliffe and Karridale as the “potential sub-regions”.
THANKS TO THAT TASTING, VANYA SAYS SITE IS PARAMOUNT
“Today, it’s a continuation of the story of the land and it’s more powerful than the winemaker,” she says. “Rather than having a house-style defining a Woodlands, a Cullen, or a Cape Mentelle, it’s about trying to represent, in the purest sense, place. That has been under-represented in Australia and yet it makes a wine more interesting.”
While some are not in favour of sub-regions or not ready to go down that route, nonetheless it has framed how people talk about Margaret River. Dr Gladstone’s mapping of those areas acts as a foundation, but it’s not the final plan. Besides, the vinous landscape today is more about attention to detail and fine-tuning in the vineyard and winery. And it would be remiss not to mention the other regional darling, chardonnay.