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The Coonawarra region, located in the cool south-eastern corner of South Australia, just across from the Victorian border, is perhaps Australia's most famous red wine-producing region (with apologies to the Barossa Valley!).  Twenty or thirty years ago, if you were drinking Australian red wine chances were you were drinking a wine from Coonawarra.  coonawarra-station2.jpg

Yet today, for many wine lovers, Coonawarra seems to have been passed by, out of favour, and as often as not, out of mind.  I guess there's a perception that the wines and style is just old-fashioned, which is a shame, as the wines are as stunning today as they ever were...and indeed, are probably actually better overall than they've previous been.

Vines were first planted in Coonawarra in the early 1890s, the first wine was produced in 1895 (by a fellow named John Riddoch), and whilst the region made wines from then on, it wasn't entitle 1950s when Wynns purchased the old Riddoch winery and gradually expanded, planting further vineyards and gaining awareness and respect for the wines.

coonawarra-soil-profile.jpgWhat makes the Coonawarra region so special and unique as a wine region is its famed soils, dubbed 'terra rossa'.  This strip of soils runs more or less north-south for approximately 19 kilometres and is around 2 kilometres wide.  These soils are roughly half a meter deep of red topsoil over limestone, which can be several meters deep.  In this soil Cabernet Sauvignon has thrived, and produces distinct wines that are at once powerful yet elegant, long-lived yet approachable in their youth.  And whilst there have been some impressive wines produced from Shiraz and Merlot and even some white varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon is unquestionably king in Coonawarra.