Wine review — Langmeil, Penfolds & Peter Lehmann

Langmeil Barossa ‘Valley Floor’ Shiraz 2003, $24.50 cellar door
After judging at the Barossa show a few weeks back I dropped into Langmeil, home to some of the Valley’s oldest vines, dating to 1843. The $100 ‘Freedom ‘ Shiraz 2003, made from these vines, is impressively vibrant and concentrated and just one of a handful of reds expressing various characteristics of the valley and its grapes. The range includes the wonderful ‘Fifth Wave Grenache 2002 ($28) from 60-70 year old vines; Jackaman’s Cabernet 2003 from a one-acre 19th century vineyard at Lyndoch in the south; Old Vine Company Shiraz 2002 ($100) from century old vines; and, the value pick of them all, this sumptuous, silky ‘Valley Floor’ Shiraz. Cellar door 08 8563 2595.
Penfolds Koonunga Hill Chardonnay 2004, Shiraz 2003, Shiraz Cabernet 2003 $9 to $15
Forget recommended retail prices.  The global oversupply and competitive retail environment continue to squish prices, especially on big brands like Koonunga Hill. That means watch for the special s and dive in because the quality is very high. The 2004 Chardonnay is impressive as it shows the attractive flavours and textures of good fruit subjected to proper barrel fermentation and ageing. The Shiraz shows the lifted aromatics of the variety and while ripe and juicy has proper, soft red-wine tannins but doesn’t hammer the mouth with oak. Good old Shiraz Cabernet, the original Koonunga, is a little weightier with the strength of cabernet supporting rich shiraz – and with typical Penfolds layered structure.
Peter Lehmann Barossa Rosé 2005 about $15
Rosé ought to be a winner in the hot Aussie climate. And its current surge in popularity might spread if every rosé measured up to this beautiful example from Peter Lehmann. It romped home at the recent Barossa Show thanks to its sparkling-bright, light pink colour, fresh-strawberry aroma and deliciously fruity, crisp, refreshing palate. This is a purpose made rosé based on old bush-vine Barossa grenache — a pale coloured variety noted for the fragrance, softness and fruitiness of its wine. These are the keys to its success in rosé making as fruit flavour hits the spot better than residual sugar. The 2004 may still be around. It’s very good. But rosé’s always best as a baby. So move on to the 2005 as soon as it’s released.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2005 & 2007

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