Wrattonbully is home to many grape varieties, the four most widely planted varieties are:
This variety easily dominates plantings in the region, with approximately 1200 hectares of the 2600 hectares planted in the area being cabernet sauvignon. It ripens easily even when crop levels are generous, producing a pleasantly soft, red berry fruited wine with complex tannins.
Planted on about 700 of the 2600 hectares planted to vines in the region, shiraz is the second most widely planted variety in Wrattonbully. The region’s long growing season, culminating in a usually dry and sunny April make it easy to bring to optimum ripeness.
Approximately 330 hectares of merlot are planted in Wrattonbully. The merlot produced is soft, rich and fruit driven with good power and flavour.
Chardonnay is the fourth most widely planted grape variety in Wrattonbully, with approximately 230 hectares planted. Although Wrattonbully is known mainly as a red grape area, chardonnay of great character and flavour is also produced. The flavour profile typically encompasses apricots, grapefruit and bready characters with good acid structure.
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During the red wine boom of the mid nineties, Australia's large winemakers began broad-acre vine plantings at Wrattonbully, adjoining Coonawarra's north-eastern boundary. Ten years later, the area contributed large volumes of high quality fruit for many popular wine brands. But nobody new for sure how high fruit quality might go in future. And ten years on, we know quality can be about as good as it gets in Australia. The area now contributes to some of our greatest wines, but also produces lovely, elegant reds.
Chris Shanahan, Wine Writer, goodfood.com.au