Re­gion with grapes to ri­val any other

Life & Style Weekend - - WELCOME // INSIDE TODAY - With Travis Schultz Travis is a Sun­shine Coast busi­ness­man with a pas­sion for food and wine.

DE­SPITE liv­ing in the shad­ows of South Aus­tralia’s high-pro­file wine re­gions, Langhorne Creek boasts a re­mark­able his­tory and has been a pro­lific con­trib­u­tor to the devel­op­ment of the Aus­tralian wine in­dus­try.

The re­gion is thought to have first been set­tled by cat­tle drover Al­fred Langhorne in about 1840 and by 1981, the first shi­raz and caber­net vines were planted at Me­tala Vine­yards.

Re­mark­ably, these same vines on the Old Blocks and The Cel­lar Block (as they are now known) are still pro­duc­ing the fruit for to­day’s premium wines.

The rich her­itage of the re­gion has only been en­hanced since Me­tala won the first ever Jimmy Wat­son Tro­phy in 1962 and the first wine bear­ing the Wolf Blass la­bel, which was re­leased in 1967. Since then, other lo­cal pro­duc­ers have made out­stand­ing wines that have earned them an al­most cult-like fol­low­ing, in­clud­ing house­hold names like Bre­mer­ton, Or­lando, Bleas­dale (which dates back to the 19th cen­tury) and Zonte’s Foot­step.

Caber­net from the re­gion en­joys a for­mi­da­ble rep­u­ta­tion but to my palate, it is their shi­raz that de­serves the ac­co­lades. And per­haps iron­i­cally, one of my favourites is made by a Hunter Val­ley based win­ery, that recog­nises qual­ity, and has cho­sen to im­port fruit from Langhorne Creek to make one of their premium-level shi­raz.

The McGuigan Hand Made Shi­raz 2013 is cur­rently on the shelves at around $45 to $50 a bot­tle but is wor­thy of the price point. There is a rich­ness from the first sip as the ripeness of the fruit un­furls in cav­al­cades of choco­late, juicy ripe plums and black cher­ries. There is per­haps also a vanilla edge that de­vel­ops through the mid­dle. De­spite the in­ten­sity and dense­ness of the dark fruit, a solid spine of acid en­sures re­spectable struc­ture and gen­tle tan­nins round out the fin­ish just nicely.

It looks like my home­work is done for Sun­day af­ter­noon’s fam­ily bar­be­cue at Mum’s place!


FINE WINE: Langhorne Creek is a South Aus­tralian wine re­gion.

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