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The Wine Region

A MARITIME LOCATION

“We are truly blessed with the hallowed terroir of Margaret River. Now renowned throughout the wine-world and likened by local vignerons to God’s own vineyard.”

Some 300 kilometers south of the WA capital Perth, the vineyards of Margaret River meander gracefully over over more than 80 kilometres up the south west coast of Western Australia, in a narrow strip spreading running between the Indian Ocean and the towering Marri forests running to the east.

The Margaret River region is divided into five sub-regions, featuring distinctive microclimates and terroir, with great differences from the warmer northern Yallingup and Willyabrup sub regions to cool-climate of Karridale

GREAT WINES ARE BORN OF GREAT TERROIR

Surrounded by the sea on three sides, the Margaret River region enjoys a strong ‘maritime climate’. The region has the most noticeable Mediterranean climate in Australia, in relation to rainfall.
Additionally, the low seasonal temperature range results in an unusually even accrual of warmth. In temperature terms, the overall climate is similar to that of the French Bordeaux regions of Pomerol and St. Emillion, in a dry vintage, so it’s no wonder the quality of its Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay is so good.
Map of Margaret River, WA

PRIME LOCATION

The essential maritime influence is almost perfectly balanced with the prevailing geography providing a degree of protection from winds blowing in from the ocean. The soil is predominantly gravelly or gritty sandy loam that has formed directly from the underlying granite and ancient bedrock - hallowed ground for the premium vines that flourish here.

THE FAIRY TALE BEGAN 50 YEARS AGO
WITH AN ITALIAN FLAVOUR.

The legend of Margaret River began nearly 50 years ago, when Italian immigrants planted the seeds to the first vineyard in the South West region, to supply themselves and other Italian families with the quality table wine they missed so terribly. The princess was born.

The hard working Italians were assisted in the late 1960s by science agronomist Dr John Gladstone and viticulturist Professor Harold Olmo who both foresaw the regions great potential for viticulture, with its climate and soil being comparable to Burgundy in France.
As fate would have it, this was “just the medicine” the burgeoning wine industry needed and shortly a small group of wine-loving Perth doctors followed his advice and established the first Margaret River vineyards. As time progressed the vines aged and new vineyards and wineries began to appear; Margaret River was maturing.

The glamorous young wine princess was on her way to becoming the Australian Queen of premium wine regions, winning acclaim around the world for her outstanding ‘fruit driven’ varietals including Australia’s finest cabernet and chardonnay; along with quintessential blends like Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Merlot.

THE GLAMOUR QUEEN
OF WINE REGIONS

One of the worlds’ most picturesque wine regions.

Swathed by the Indian Ocean, the region is one of the most picturesque in Australia, featuring a dramatic coastline with some of the world’s finest beaches and biggest surf, towering forests, spectacular subterranean caves and large tracts of undulating agricultural land – including over 12,500 acres of premium vineyards.
Today the breath-taking scenery is punctuated by a relaxed lifestyle, fine dining and premium, yet ‘unstuffy’ wine culture – every year enjoyed by thousands of wine-lovers from around the world.

THE JEWELS IN HER CROWN

Although Margaret River wineries produce less than 4% of Australia’s wine output, we account for nearly 25% of the premium wine. Speaks for itself really.

THE PRINCIPLE GRAPE
VARIETIES

Virtually every winery produces a Cabernet, commonly blended with Merlot – but with the very best as straight premium varietals. We prefer to produce only straight varietal Cabernets in our premium ‘Claw’ and “Small Batch” ranges – believing this to be the purest expression of this great terroir for cabernet.
In general, the cabernets have a ‘leafiness’ to them, but as the vines mature, these flavours will be only secondary to the riper, darker and luscious, more solid fruit flavours, as is the case at the 30-year-old Rivendell vineyard. The other unique characteristic displayed by the best Margaret River Cabernets is a “mintiness” – often attributed to the vines close proximity to the regions towering Eucalypts and Marri trees.

FORTY YEARS ON…

from the first major plantings, Margaret River is developing a wide spectrum of exceptional sub-region flavours.

Cabernets from the northern warmer, maritime influenced Willyabrup and Yallingup sub-regions (home to Howling Wolves) are usually rounder, fuller and more mulberry-like, while further south of the river they are leaner, leafier and more elegant.
We draw fruit from both to create cornerstone Cabernets showing both full, intense flavours and elegant complexity.

While Margaret River’s glamour title has been clearly the result of her Cabernet Sauvignon, the region’s Chardonnay is now being rated amongst the very best in the world. They are typically superbly voluptuous, intense and concentrated with lemon, grapefruit and hazelnut flavours.

ELEGANT COMPLEXITY

Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is the quintessential white blend of the region. Here it displays passionfruit flavours in unwooded styles and herbaceous appeal in rarer barrel-fermented styles.

Shiraz from this region is intense, spicy, dark cherry and pepper flavoured, with Howling Wolves’ winemakers now tending to favour majority French oak creating a less fruit forward and more complex style.
Another variety to watch for is the dry- grown Grenache of which there are few plantings in Margaret River, with Howling Wolves using the majority of fruit from one of the finest.

This vineyard was originally planted with French sourced rootlings from the Rhone Valley. Most vineyards feature rows of Merlot – often blended with cabernet to create the classic Rhone Valley blend the region is synonymous with. A small, exceptional portion is made into straight Merlots – some of sublime quality.

GREAT ITALIAN
VARIETIES…

like Sangiovese and Tempranillo are also flourishing; and further south, in the cooler microclimate bordering Karridale, Pinot Noir (defying the sceptics and doomsayers) is producing lovely results, with a distinctive Margaret River Character. Verdelho, Viognier and Chenin Blanc are other white grape varieties sharing increasing popularity in the region.
Logo of Howling Wolves Wines

THE MOST MEDITERRANEAN OF CLIMATES

Surrounded by the sea on three sides, Margaret River enjoys a strong maritime climate very similar to Pomerol and St Emillion in France, in a dry vintage. So it’s little wonder the Cabernet Sauvignon is so damn good.