Wine Varieties

Wine Varieties

Most Common Varieties in WA

White Varieties

Arneis

This is a variety most commonly known as a distinctive white variety of Piedmont in Italy, where it makes a wine with powerful almond and peach characters. There is only a small amount grown in WA, yet some of it looks very promising. Expect to see more wines from this variety soon.
Best region: Ferguson Valley.

Chardonnay

Makes a wide range of styles including unoaked and complex sophisticated wines. The primary characters are nectarine, peach, fig, tropical, apple, lemon, lime, grapefruit and melon. Secondary aged characters are toast, honey, fig and nuts. A popular and widespread grape variety, generally showing fuller bodied styles. Oak and malolactic treatment with wild yeast often used for added complexity and smoothness.
Best regions: Margaret River, Pemberton, Denmark.

Chenin blanc

Widely grown but best in the Swan Valley. Can be austere and tight when young before exhibiting tropical fruit characters with pear, spice and melon characters.
Best regions: Swan Valley, Margaret River.

Fiano

Fiano is a white Italian wine grape variety that is best known for its wines made in the Campania region of southern Italy and on the island of Sicily. It is a reasonably powerful grape variety with strong spices and hazelnut characters.
Best region: Margaret River.

Marsanne

A Rhone variety not widely grown in WA. Can be tight and austere when young but develops more characters of honey, toast and citrus with age. Further ageing brings out rich marmalade characters.
Best regions: Margaret River, Great Southern.

Riesling

Cool climate Riesling tends to exhibit mineral, apple, floral tones with high acid. Warmer climate Riesling shows pronounced tropical/citrus fruit character. Look for lime, lemon and floral characters in the main. Develops toasty characters with age.
Best regions: Great Southern, Porongurups, Frankland River, Mount Barker.

Sauvignon blanc

In cooler regions, the variety is very defined with pungent, grassy, vegetal (capsicum), canned peas or asparagus characters. In warmer regions the nose is more tropical. Sometimes a little oak is used to add complexity.
Best regions: Pemberton, Great Southern, Margaret River, Geographe.

Semillon

Generally fuller and more herbaceous in WA than in other parts of Australia. Primary fruit characters are pea pod, green bean, herbaceous, grassy, flinty, snow peas, gooseberry, apple, quince, lemon, lime, citrus, fig and tropical fruit. With age semillon has characters of straw, biscuit, toast, butter, fig, honey, butterscotch and honeysuckle. Increasingly used with sauvignon blanc.
Best regions: Margaret River, Geographe.

Verdelho

This Spanish variety initially found a home in the Swan Valley but is also widely grown in the south of the state, particularly Margaret River. In general the WA style is full flavoured with primary tropical fruit characters. Has good ageing potential. Outstanding fortified verdelhos also made.
Best regions: Swan Valley, Margaret River.

Vermentino

This lighter Italian variety is mainly found in Sardinia, Liguria, Corsica and Piedmont with a few examples of the Languedoc-Roussillon. It is a variety well suited to Australian conditions with some nice wines found in Margaret River. It’s quite aromatic and best examples are where the fruit has been restrained.
Best regions: Margaret River, Geographe.

Viognier

Famous in the Rhone Valley of France. Has become more popular in Australia with its characters of orange blossom, marmalade, ginger and spicy lemon. Unctuous rich oil texture. Often used with shiraz in small amounts to lift aromatics.
Best regions: Geographe, Perth Hills.

RAY'S WINE GUIDE 2017