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Districts Tasting

Based on geology, topography, elevation and climate, the existence of 19 unique districts have been identified in the McLaren Vale Geographical Indication.

D Arenberg Old Vine Bunch Grapes
© Copyright d'Arenberg

The Districts of McLaren Vale is a working group of the McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association, McLaren Vale’s regional association.

The vision and mission of the working group is to:

  • Investigate the different wine growing terrains of McLaren Vale and define those differences.
  • Increase knowledge of McLaren Vale's geology, and the different wine growing terrains, by running education programmes and developing materials to communicate the findings of the Districts Project.
Districts Tasting2023
© Copyright McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association

Since 2009 the Districts of McLaren Vale Working Group have conducted annual tastings to investigate if there are any identifiable flavour, tannin and textural characteristics attributable to each district. This investigation is a continual work in progress and a long term project. Annual findings help us gain a better understanding of our complex region and determine if district specific wine differences exist.

Based on geology, topography, elevation and climate, the Districts of McLaren Vale Working Group have suggested the existence of 19 unique districts within the McLaren Vale Geographical Indication.

To date, data analysis illustrates that there are significant differences in the sensory wine profiles between Districts 3, 5, 9, 10 & 12.

For the remaining districts, further ongoing samples are required to be able to draw conclusions from the data. The target is for a minimum of 5 samples from each district for a number of years to provide meaningful sensory data. The exceptions being Districts 8 & 19 that were previously viticultural areas, but vines have now been replaced with housing and District 13 which has only one vineyard so a scientifically sound comparison cannot be made.

This ongoing research can only be carried out with the support of McLaren Vale’s wine producers as it requires as many wines to be submitted as possible to ensure that the tasting demonstrates and showcases relevance and substance.

Each year winemakers and viticulturists of the McLaren Vale Wine Region are asked to submit samples of single vintage Shiraz wines produced from a single vineyard block (or a couple of blocks in close proximity) that have been matured in older or fairly neutral oak (newer oak is permissible provided the oak has not dominated the site characteristics).

Upon submission, the wine samples are sorted into groups according to the originating district.

A master blend of each district is made under controlled conditions using equal parts of each wine submitted from each district. This is done to further remove any winemaking influence on the wine and provide a blend that is a true representation of each district.

The blend of each district is then used in the annual Districts Tasting to eaqually compare district on district.

Geology and soil image1

Geology

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Geology

Geology Map