PLANTAGENET
Great Southern
An historic producer, Plantagenet Wines was the first winery to be established in the rugged Great Southern wine region. Named after the local Shire of Plantagenet, the winery was founded in 1968 when English immigrant Tony Smith planted vines on his Mount Barker property. These early wines impressed with their elegance and finesse, and Plantagenet has gone on to become a driving force in establishing this area as a distinctive, quality-focused Australian wine region.

"The senior winery in Mount Barker region, making superb wines across the full spectrum of variety and style."
James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion (2009)
  • Founded: 1968
  • Winemaker: Luke Eckersley
  • Size: 320 acres
  • Climate: Cool, continental
  • Key Varieties: Shiraz, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon

Viticulture

The Great Southern looms large on the West Australian landscape,  a windswept, pristine corner of the earth that is dotted with massive granite outcrops, lonely sheep farms and a sprinkling of vineyards. It’s also a challenging, cool climate region that demands a toughness from those looking to harness the viticulture here. Despite these challenges, Plantagenet has established itself as one of the region’s leading producers, with a quality-driven philosophy centered on their 320 acres of mature estate vineyards. The oldest of these, the Bouverie vineyard, consists of 40-year-old Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vines planted on north facing slopes of deep gravel loam. Mature Riesling and Chardonnay vines thrive on the Wyjup Vineyard, with its deep sandy/gravel loam, while the Rocky Horror vineyards support numerous Bordeaux and Burgundy varietals on their inhospitable, rocky soils. The youngest, the Rosetta vineyard, is best suited to Merlot and aromatic whites with its heavy clay loams and westerly aspect. It is this rich tapestry of landscapes and soils in a harsh and variable climate that provides Plantagenet with fruit of such defiantly distinct character.

Winemaking

Be it fluke or intuition, Tony Smith laid a solid foundation for Plantagenet by selecting varietals that would thrive in the Great Southern’s cool climate and granite-laden soils. He was a world away from the nearest established vineyards of the far eastern states, and the wines mirrored the region’s geographic and climatic distinctiveness, standing tall with a poise and independence inherent to the land. Plantagenet has continued to harness this potential with a philosophy that honors pure expression of terroir in their wines. Seasoned winemaker John Durham produces aromatic whites that are austere and mineral-laden with crisp acidity and fragrant, floral notes. The reds are spicy, elegant and statuesque, a far cry from the blockbusters generally associated with Australia. While quality French oak and modern winemaking techniques are a given, it is the unique expression of the land that is nurtured, ensuring these wines have an inimitable voice in the roar of Australian wine.

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