Denmark, located in Western Australia’s South West, has many great attractions, from its pristine beaches and towering trees to beautiful forest-lined drives. The region certainly offers diversity, but its the cool-climate wines that stand out. For decades, Denmark (located in the Great Southern wine region) has been attracting wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs who are seeking out the wines that only a cool-climate can produce.
The first grapevine plantings in Denmark occurred in 1974 along Mount Shadforth Road and since then there have been many vineyards established. But what is it that makes wines from Denmark truly exceptional?
As the name suggests, Denmark is a cool-climate region which makes it an ideal location for producing high quality cool-climate wines. Something that warmer regions just cannot do.
The definition of “cool climate” wines, however, varies from source to source. Wines are generally given the label if their grapes are grown in an area that has an average summer temperature below 19.5 degrees Celsius or is located above 400m in altitude.
In Denmark, where The Lake House Denmark cellar door and vineyard is located, the temperature in January is significantly lower than most of the state. Moreover, the region experiences substantial rainfall throughout the winter months, making it the ideal location for producing excellent cool climate wines.
The combination of concentrated sunlight and lower air temperatures creates an ideal environment for longer grape ripening. When grapes ripen slowly, it makes it easier for the sun to penetrate the grape skins and ripen the pips inside. This results in grapes that have a more concentrated flavour, better tannin structure and higher natural acidity. These characteristics translate into wines that are dry, crisp and and light-bodied, offering tart, fruity flavours like cranberry, raspberry and green apple, and herbaceous and earthy notes.
Denmark’s terroir is characterised by well-drained, fertile karri and marri loam soil, which is perfectly suited for cultivating cool climate grape varieties. This nutrient-rich earth in which the grapevines grow is a clean, green and pristine environment void of urban pollution. Something we can attest to having a huge impact on the quality of the finished product!
Cool Climate Varieties
The first vines planted in Denmark were Riesling and Chardonnay – two renowned cool climate varieties cherished for their nuanced and elegant flavours and aromas. Cool climate Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc are known for having high acidity, lemon-lime aromas and light body. Red wines like Pinot Noir and Merlot also have elevated acidity, a spicy character and a lighter body when compared to their warm climate counterparts of the same variety.
In The Lake House vineyard, we grow Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. We are also in the process of establishing our Riesling vineyard so watch out for a Denmark Riesling in the next few years. Our wines made from our Denmark vineyard are fresh, vibrant and carefully crafted to not only reflect the best of the region’s temperature, temperament and terroir, but to give those who sip them a taste of the good life.