Check out Gourmet Traveller wine writer Daniel Honan's article on the Mt Benson & Robe wine regions, South Australia.
ON AN OVERCAST DAY, the wind blows hard over the denim blue waters of the Great Southern Ocean, rupturing ripples into white caps, agitating waves into crests of foam. This cool breeze billows beyond the primordial shoreline of pockmarked rocks, made mostly of weathered granite, and inland to where the region’s relatively diminutive patchwork of vines share space with the scraggly, straw-green coastal scrub.
The story goes that when an ex-chairman of Southcorp first visited the region to inspect some new vineyards that had been planted, he asked, “What the hell are we doing here?”
For this is harsh country – windswept and interesting, and not for the faint of heart. Trial vines were first planted here in 1978, over shallow, undulating soils of sand and loamy clays.
Such earth was formed from ancient dune systems spread out over prehistoric limestone reefs that run right throughout the aptly named Limestone Coast; the coast is comprised, north to south, of the wine regions Padthaway, Wrattonbully, Mount Benson, Robe, Coonawarra, and Mount Gambier.
Of these six, certainly Coonawarra is the most familiar.
Yet, it’s the lesser known – more coastally confined – Mount Benson and Robe that really ought to draw some of your attention for their wines.