According to Dr John Gladstones, in his 1999 paper ‘Terroir in Margaret River’, the region should be divided into six subregions: Yallingup, Carbunup, Wilyabrup, Treeton, Wallcliffe and Karridale. While not part of the official GI (Geographical Indication), these sub-regions are understood and respected by Margaret River vignerons and winemakers. Flamtree’s Sub-Regional Series (S.R.S) explores these distinct areas in Australia's premium wine powerhouse of Margaret River.
The fruit is hand-picked and cold stored, destemmed with a focus on retaining whole berries. The stems are washed and sun-dried for five days. After this, the stems go into an open fermenter with the whole berries poured in on top. After a few days, the wild ferment starts. Once underway, pigeage is done manually (and by foot). Post-fermentation, the wine is pressed off the skins and stems into a small portion of new French oak puncheons for around a year and a half.
Located three hours south of Perth, Margaret River is Western Australia’s most prestigious wine-growing region. Serious vineyard development began only in the late 1960’s following the publication of a report by John Gladstones in 1965 stating that the area had a similar climate to Pomerol or St Emilion, with low frost risk, plenty of sunshine and equable temperatures within the growing season promoting even ripening. Margaret River’s climate is warm and maritime, with some cooling influence provided by southeast trade winds. The soils derive from granitic and a gneissic rock over which laterite has formed. The region can be divided in three sub-regions: the cooler south between Yallingup and Karridale with predominantly lateritic gravelly loamy sands and sandy loams; the warm and sunnier Willyabrup in the centre with predominantly gravelly loams, but some gritty sandy loams and granitic gravels; and Margaret River in the north with similar soils, but slightly cooler temperatures. This is entirely consistent with style; the wines from Willyabrup being more generous than the highly structured wines of the north and the elegant styles of the south. Margaret River is best known for high quality Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends and top notch Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends. Over the years, the region has established an astonishing reputation illustrating a consistency in quality and a strongly focused winemaking culture.