|The Limestone Coast viticultural zone encompasses Padthaway, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully and Mount Benson.
Situated 380kms from Adelaide in South Australia’s southeast corner, the region boasts some of the most respected producers in Australia.
Coonawarra (Aboriginal for Honeysuckle) is at the centre of the Limestone Coast. Its trademark terra rossa soil strip, which is only 15km long by 1.5km wide, contributes significantly to the grape quality and fine structure of the wines.
Padthaway is 64kms to the north of Coonawarra. Its soils are similar to its southern cousin, however it is slightly warmer. Known more for its white wines, Padthaway is largely controlled by the major wine companies, as it is their source of grapes for premium blends.
Between Coonawarra and Padthaway lies the newly named region of Wrattonbully (formerly Koppamurra). There are a thousand hectares of vines planted, with much of the production used by BRL Hardy, Beringer Blass (formerly Mildara Blass) and Yalumba. Red varieties make up most of the plantings.
Mt Benson is located due west of Coonawarra on the coast and has a strong maritime influence. The region is one of the youngest Australian viticultural areas with plantings only commencing in 1989. The growing season is tempered by the southern ocean, resulting in cooler temperatures than Coonawarra.
So what is the difference? Some say it is the terra rossa soil over limestone, combined with a longer ripening period. This produces wines with more elegance, freshness and a mineral-like complexity in both reds and whites. These characters differ somewhat to the riper, more concentrated flavours of the warmer regions such as the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale