400km south of Adelaide, by the Victoria/SA state line and in close proximity to the chill winds of the Southern Ocean lies, as Oz Clarke prosaically put it, a 'barren swathe of bogland.' Flat and featureless as it is, this is Australia's premium Cabernet region, the Bordeaux big-un accounting for over 60% of plantings on the 15km long, narrow limestone ridge that forms the basis of Coonawarra. These ridges are Rolls Royce real estate, beautifully, naturally free-draining vineyards in the middle of a marsh. Squally springs, wet winters and harsh summers make the vines work like dogs; the soil spoils them, the results are fragrant, piercingly flavoured reds of inordinate finesse and character and whites with a scintillating leanness to their riches. So distinctive are the wines from this unique strip of rock and soil that millions of dollars have been spent by major wineries to define and defend the actual 'appellation' of Coonawarra - in the broad swathes of Australian vineland, this is terroir-critical winemaking at its best.