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Australia, the magazine : Australia, the magazine
MARGARET RIVER wine trail 60 e spectacular Margaret River region, a three-hour drive south of Perth, produces less than 1 percent of all Australian wine, but a remarkable 15 percent of the premium wine. e laidback Margaret River township is the heartbeat of this coast-hugging area, with vines stretching 60 kilometres to the north and 40 kilometres to the south. Within that area, there's a huge range of microclimates. Whether you are drinking the varieties that made Margaret River famous -- cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, or the hugely popular semillon/sauvignon blanc blends, you'll nd wines with intensity and elegance. e rst vines in Margaret River were planted just 40 years ago at what is now Vasse Felix , and shortly a erwards at Cullen, but today there are more than 90 wineries in the region and dozens of cellar doors and restaurants. ere is plenty to reward adventurous diners, who can sip Western Australian wines while sampling local marron (freshwater cray sh) or venison at world-famous restaurants such as Cape Lodge. Among the wineries well worth visiting are pioneers Vasse Felix and Cullen (now organic and biodynamic), big names Leeuwin Estate, Cape Mentelle, Voyager Estate and Evans & Tate and smaller producers such as Clairault, Woodlands, Cape Grace, Juniper Estate, Hamelin Bay and Edwards. You can taste a range of the best drops at Must Wine Bar and at Vino's, two busy local establishments. ere are other a ractions, too, including an abundance of arts and cra s galleries, some terri c surf beaches, whale watching, national parks and caves to explore. Top it all o with a visit to the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse. www.margaretriverwine.org.au MARGARET RIVER While the Barossa and Clare valleys are probably be er known, the scenic Adelaide Hills is unique in its proximity to an Australian state capital. Head out of Adelaide along the freeway and within just a few minutes you are surrounded by vines. e region was once covered with orchards, and while many of them have survived, wine is now very much the focus with close to 40 cellar doors do ed through the vineyards. e altitude means there are four distinct seasons and the hills have been described as Australia's most vibrant cool-climate wine region. Producers like Shaw and Smith, Nepenthe, Petaluma, Chain of Ponds, Bird In Hand, Deviation Road and Ashton Hills are regarded among Australia's best. A number of Adelaide Hills towns started as German se lements; hence names like Lobethal and Hahndorf. Although grapes were planted as early as 1839, it was not until the early 1980s, just two decades ago, that locals became serious. Most of the wineries here are small family operations produce sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, merlot and pinot noir as well as some elegant shirazes. A ourishing gourmet food culture has grown up among the vines and the area is something of a food bowl, with strawberries, apples, pears, cherries, potatoes, cheese, salmon and venison being farmed. ere are few more picturesque places to dine than Bridgewater Mill, a historic 19th-century our mill, but it's also worth lunching at e Lane, a cellar door restaurant with spectacular views. Following the principles of the 100-Mile Diet, Locavore in Stirling ser ves locally sourced produce, while the Stirling Hotel has two excellent dining options -- the casual bistro and the ne-dining Mallee Grill. Or you can enjoy wine and chocolate matchings at Hahndorf Hill. www.adelaidehillswine.com.au ADELAIDE HILLS Tourism Western Australia Tourism WA www.nepenthe.com.au 4000 KILOMETRES COAST TO COAST, 60 REGIONS, THIS IS AUSTRALIAN WINE COUNTRY.