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Mount Langi Ghiran Langi Shiraz: Still the Benchmark for Cool Climate Shiraz

Today Mount Langi Ghiran, Seppelt Wines and Best’s Wines released a “Greats of the Grampians” Trio Pack.  The pack  includes a bottle of Best’s Bin O Great Western Shiraz 2010 (rrp $75), a bottle of the Mount Langi Ghiraz Langi Shiraz 2009 (rrp $95) and a bottle of the Seppelt St Peters Shiraz 2008 (rrp $75). It is available online for $199 from Best’s Wines.

Showcasing the distinctive character of cool climate shiraz from Victoria’s Grampians region, the pack honours the late Trevor Mast – the winemaker responsible for creating the benchmark Mount Langi Ghiran Langi Shiraz, and, as Tyson Stelzer of the Wine Spectator observed, “a visionary decades before “cool-climate” became a buzzword in Australian wine.” (Before acquiring Mount Langi Ghiran in 1987, Mast worked for both Seppelt and Best’s) (Trevor Mast, Australian Wine Pioneer, Dies at 63 Winemaker at Mount Langi Ghiran showed how outstanding cool-climate Aussie Shiraz could be by Tyson Stelzer, Wine Spectator, 14 March 2012)

Mast’s defining vintage was the Mount Langi Ghiraz Langi Shiraz 1989. With its spicy, pepper infused and floral characters, crisp texture and fine boned tannins, the wine quickly attracted international attention. In 1996, with only eight vintages behind it, the 1994 Mount Langin Ghiran Langi Shiraz graced the front cover of the Wine Spectator, sharing the stage with the iconic Penfolds Grange and Henschke’s Mount Eldestone Shiraz! ( Innovative and infectious ‘whiz-kid’ of wine industry by Ineke Mast and Gordon Gebbie, The Age, 16 April 2012)

Apparently Mast went out on a limb with his 1989 vintage. In a very wet season, he kept his nerve and left the grapes on the vine during the rain. After the vineyard dried out, he was able to pick perfectly ripened shiraz, producing an exceptional wine in what was generally regarded as a poor vintage. (Of course, the trick with cool climate shiraz is to insure that the grapes ripen properly so the wine is not acidic or harsh.)

Mast’s meticulous attention to vineyard management continues today under the direction of general manager and viticulturist Damien Sheehan. Fruit is hand selected and hand picked from exceptional vines originally planted by the Italian Fratin brothers in 1963. Sustainable production practices, like the planting of nature corridors and the avoidance of synthetic chemicals,  are used to protect the fragile eco-system and the integrity of the red loam and ancient granitic soils.

Dan Buckle, who is now in charge of wine-making at Mount Langi Ghiran, continues to win rave reviews for the flagship Langi Shiraz. The Wine Front Campbell Mattinson scored the 2008 vintage 96 points:

There’s no doubt that it’s a good wine. It’s cool climate and spicy but it announces itself in your mouth from the get-go. It’s the ropey burst of tannin that really got my heart going but only, of course, because it’s backed by licoricey, boysenberried, dark cherried fruit power. It’s succulent and structured, lengthy and – as a result – compelling. Cedary oak helps give it polish and class. This release furthers the notion that Mount Langi is at the top of its game at present. (The Wine Front, 6 June 2011)

Merrill Witt, Editor

 

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