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Coonawarra may be one of the smaller wine regions, but it has earned its noteworthy reputation for producing first-class cabernet sauvignon. Part of the picturesque Limestone Coast, this region is home to predominantly smaller family owned and operated wineries grouped along the famed ‘terra rossa’ strip. Undoubtable the most famous aspect of the Coonawarra region, the ‘terra rossa’ strip is a long cigar shaped strip approximately 2km by 25km long of exceptionally fertile red soil, sitting above an ancient reservoir of pure water. It is boasted that this soil is the most sought-after vineyard soil in Australia. Another unique feature that is unusual for wine regions is the terrain. Whilst most vineyards are found on undulating landscapes, this strip lies completely flat with no rivers or valley slopes to help irrigation. Coonawarra may have begun as a region specialising in shiraz, however, it now considers Cabernet Sauvignon to be the jewel in the region’s crown.
The cooler temperatures suit the growth of red style vines, with 90% of the production made up of red wines such as shiraz, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. This being said, the new generation of winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating alternative grape varieties with new winemaking styles to also offer white wines, including rieslings chardonnays and popular sparkling whites.
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