Cape Mentelle’s founding dates to 1970, which makes it one of the very first vineyards in Western Australia’s now legendary Margaret River. This beautiful winery is situated between the town of Margaret River and the Cape from which the vineyard draws its name. The name Mentelle is in honor of two French brothers, Edmunde and Francois- Simon Mentelle, who in the 18th century became well-known geographers and cartographers: just one breathtaking look at this coast tells why they were honored to impart their name to such a far off place. To augment its natural charm and superb terroir, the Cape Mentelle vineyards are surrounded by landscaped native gardens that play host to an abundance of local birdlife. In short, Cape Mentelle is not only one of Western Australia’s most prestigious wine addresses, it is also one of the most beautiful.
The Cape Mentelle vineyards and winery were originally established by David and Mark Hohnen. Nearly four decades later, Cape Mentelle is a thriving four hundred acre enterprise that devotes its energy to the production of outstanding Margaret River wines, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and most recently Zinfandel. In addition, it serves as a sister company to New Zealand’s Cloudy Bay as both estates are now owned by Veuve Clicqout, the great French Champagne house.
The Margaret River is Western Australia’s hottest tourist attraction, and with good reason. It is home to Australia’s finest surfing and it harbors a friendly, urbane wine industry that caters to the increasing number of oenophiliac residents of Perth who are now more than ever willing to make the four hour pilgrimage south to this green shimmering corner of southwest Australia, where crystalline waters and high rolling surf offer Australia’s most compelling seascapes. Blessed with a spectacular unspoiled coastline, a mild near perfect climate for the cultivation of the vine, and plenty of space, the Margaret River wine region unfolds upon the hills and paddocks of this majestic land in and around the town of Margaret River and its meandering river from whence the entire area draws its name. Moreover, Margaret River wines account for the highest percentage of gold medal and trophy award wines in Australian wine competitions – a tribute to the Margaret River’s dedication to premium varietals, quality winemaking, and outstanding terroir.
In the early1960’s, a scholar named John Gladstone was the first to recognize and publicize Margaret River’s special climate, soil, and conditions known as terroir. In a detailed account Gladstone wrote glowingly of the similarities between the finest wine producing regions of Bordeaux and Margaret River. Moreover, he extolled the perfect weather of Margaret River for the cultivation of the vine, especially for traditional French varietals. And, indeed, Gladstone’s proclamation has proven to be more than mere wishful thinking, surpassing even his own expectations: In the past four decades the Margaret River has established itself as a world-class wine producing region for Shiraz and Chardonnay as well as the traditional Bordeaux varietals.