The Uniqueness of Margaret River
So, what makes the Margaret River wine region so special?
Just three hours' drive south of Perth, Margaret River isn't the easiest Australian wine region to access, but it's worth the journey! Margaret River offers over 200 world-class wineries and hundreds of kilometres of explorable pristine coast. It's the type of place that warrants repeat visits.
The region has a Mediterranean-style climate that doesn't experience extreme temperatures during summer and winter, ensuring superb growing conditions. Paired with the expert winemaking practices, what you have is an abundance of wineries producing consistently high-quality fruit, resulting in many award-winning wines.
Thompson Estate's vineyard is situated in the Wilyabrup Valley of Margaret River, surrounded by ocean on three sides on the South West cape of Western Australia. The maritime climate and unique soils are the foundation of Thompson Estate's wines.
The Wilyabrup Valley has the ideal number of sun exposure days per year for optimal ripening. The maritime breezes keep the fruit cool and add intensity of flavours, similar to the great years of the Bordeaux region of France.
Thompson Estate and its immediate neighbours in Wilyabrup produce some of Australia’s “icon status” Chardonnays and Cabernets.
Margaret River’s Secret Weapon
It has always been a mystery how Margaret River, scientifically predicted by Dr John Gladstones in the 1960s as a Bordeaux (Cabernet) region, should incidentally be producing some of the world’s greatest Chardonnays. Chardonnay is a variety whose fame spread from Burgundy, on the other side of France and with a vastly different meteorological and soil pattern from Bordeaux.
There is now a general agreement that the secret is in the clone of Chardonnay which produces the outstanding flavour and intensity of Margaret River Chardonnays. The predominant clone of Chardonnay grown in Margaret River today is known as the ‘Gingin’ clone. The origin of the name is because first large plantings were made in Gingin, a small town 70 km north of Perth, Western Australia.
The Gingin clone was the first Chardonnay planted in the Margaret River region in 1975 and it soon became the main clone for many successive vineyards. International fame followed when Decanter Magazine gave its highest recommendation to the Leeuwin Estate 1981 “Art Series” Chardonnay made by Bob Cartwright. The ‘hen and chicken’ phenomenon can be visually unappealing, however, the combination of small and large berries and lower yields provide outstanding fruit concentration, elegance and persistent natural acidity.
At Thompson Estate, the Wilyabrup vineyard has the Gingin clone on the front blocks. Fruit from these 23-year-old vines are the source of their estate and 'The Specialist Chardonnays'.
Thompson Estate also have 15-year-old Burgundian clones at Wilyabrup which make the 'Four Chambers Chardonnay'.
At their vineyard in Treeton, they have predominantly 23-year-old Gingin vines and are in the process of grafting the whole Chardonnay vineyard to Gingin!
Visit Thompson Estate and explore their wines
Discover more information about Thompson Estate and shop their wine collections on the Thompson Estate website.