Langmeil, one of the gems of the Barrossa Valley.…
Australia’s Barossa Valley has a well-deserved reputation for some of the world’s finest wines. Amongst the producers that focus on delivering powerful red wines that tell a story of alcohol and dried fruit, there those producers who value a fresh boldness. These producers temper that power with an overlying elegance.
Langmeil is one of these wineries.
Often, this elegance will be the result of old vine fruit which is not an uncommon feature of Barossa vineyards. These old vines have incredible root systems that have withstood the test of many droughts. These old vines focus on producing low yields of characterful fruit rather than yielding an abundance of berries that dilute that character. Although the wines are intensely concentrated, they have a certain grace and gravitas. Such are the benefits of being made by an experienced winemaker with a deft touch.
The old, low yield vineyards are revered by those that know and love the wines they produce. It is not uncommon for these old vineyards to be dry grown in the Barossa Valley. This suits the region where hot, dry summers are commonplace. The vineyards are also at risk of destruction being so close to the ever-expanding townships of the valley. It is not a surprise then that developers will pay a premium for these vineyards to convert into housing estates. This makes those who are actively preserving these low producing vines even more worthy of respect.
The region even created its own ‘Old Vine Charter in 2009’
The Lindner family are the current owners of Langmeil and, subsequently, the custodians of the historic Freedom vineyard. This particular vineyard was planted in 1843 by Christian Auricht, a Prussian settler. Therefore, under the Old Vine Charter the Freedom vineyard is categorised as having ‘Ancestor’ shiraz vines. The wine that comes from this vineyard is remarkably perfumed and bold without overwhelming the senses. It should be one of the staples in your long term wine cellar.
Custodians of old Barossa …
Incredibly, the Lindner family, rescued more than 300 shiraz vines from destruction in 2006. Over time, they replanted these vines in their Orphan Bank vineyard. This was also a first for the Barossa.
The family has also purchased a historic vineyard in the Eden Valley with some of the shiraz vines being more than 120 years old.
It goes without saying, like many Barossa Valley stalwarts, that Langmeil produce a wide range of wines. The hospitable growing conditions in the warm Barossa Valley make it a fine home to a wide range of different varieties and Langmeil draws on contract growers to keep their range full of fresh offerings.
Currently, there is a delicious Rhone white blend, a Malbec, and two Italian varietal red blends; a Sangiovese Barbera blend and a Montepulciano Primitivo blend. These wines sit comfortably with the more traditional Barossa Valley Shirazs, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. And the family’s Eden Valley Rieslings and Chardonnay.
Langmeil also features in ‘The Producers. A taste of South Australia’.
Here are some highlights of the range that I have been able to taste here in the UK.
Langmeil Three Gardens
The varieties viognier, marsanne and roussanne sit very companiably together. I often wonder why they are not as popular in their home region, the Rhone Valley in France. In the 2018 vintage, clairette blanche made an entrance and joined the blend. Clairette is a grape variety that adds some roundness and fullness. The 2019 vintage is just as good with a touch more green fruit. Overall, Three Gardens is a reliably pretty dry white with a peppery palate. AU $20 | £15
Click here to read a full review of the 2018.
Langmeil Three Gardens Red blend
There is a vibrant perfume to this red laced with smoky raspberry and liquorice. It may be humble in price, however some of the fruit in this wine is from century old vines. These old vine berries give texture and complexity to the Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro blend. Fresh, yet silky. It is remarkable for the price. AU $20 | £14 | US $20
Langmeil Rough Diamond Grenache
Grenache is one of the Barossa Valley’s specialities. Unfortunately, outside of Australia Barossan Grenache is all too often overlooked. As such, it remains in the shadow of Shiraz. The Rough Diamond is a low yield red, rounded out in seasoned oak. The name is a bit of a misnomer as this wine has an elegance that makes it very amiable. Soft juicy red cherry and floral notes have a base of gentle spiciness. AU $25 |
Langmeil Della Mina Sangiovese Barbera
This is one of the Italian red blends with 93% Sangiovese (that Tuscan icon) and the rest is the Northern Italian grape, Barbera. It is a sweetly ripe blend of red raspberry fruit with an earthy lilt, spiced up with cinnamon. This is a red wine made to enjoy in the short to medium term. Its shapely tannins and fuller body will not disappoint. Cellar Door exclusive | available by direct order AU $30 |
Langmeil Massimo Montepulciano Primitivo
This is the other Italian red blend that is offered by Langmeil. And it is a more-ish and succulent red. Here Montepulciano is the dominant grape variety with some Primitivo. Montepulciano is a vibrant variety that is more commonly found in central Italy than Australia. Primitivo, the grape that is popular in the south of Italy adds some additional structure.
In the glass there is some complex red plum, cherry fruit, with some blueberry brightness. Cinnamon and pepper spice up the ripe fruit. It is big, fleshy and long on flavour. This makes it an easy choice to enjoy with or without food. A platter of antipasti is a good start. Cellar Door exclusive| available by direct order AU $30 |
Langmeil Freedom Shiraz
This is a bold and young shiraz from century old vines. There is a light pepperiness overlaying the wine’s ripe perfume. The black berry fruit and liquorice has some coconut richness thanks to a couple of years in new and seasoned oak. Consequently, this careful oak regime has also added some additional body to the already deeply concentrated red wine. Give it some time and this will reward your patience. Or, drink it now with a succulent roast with all the trimmings. It has all the hallmarks of a wine that is well qualified to be a cellar dweller. AU $145 | £73 | US $120
see Langmeilwinery.com.au for more information.