Wine review — Mount Langi Ghiran, Tim Smith and Barwang

Mount Langi Ghiran Billi Billi Shiraz 2008 $14.25–$18
The Rathbone Wine Group owns some of Australia’s great regional brands – Yering Station Yarra Valley, Parker Coonawarra Estate, Xanadu Margaret River and Mount Langi Ghiran Grampians. Winemaker, Dan Buckle, and viticulturist, Damien Sheehan, look after production at the Langi Ghiran operation, producing the sensational “The Langi” shiraz and this budget blend from the Grampians, Swan Hill and Bendigo. It’s a clever blend, keeping the price down by using cheaper, warm-grown, grapes, but retaining the lovely savouriness and spiciness of the cooler regions. That savoury, spiciness cuts through a rich, fruity palate. Should drink well for three or four years.

Tim Smith Eden Valley Riesling 2011 $25
The first wine we’ve seen in the Eden Valley’s new proprietary bottle comes from Tim Smith, former Yalumba winemaker. Smith says the wine comes from a low-yielding vineyard, planted in 1922 at 450 metres above sea level. The cool, wet 2011 vintage presented huge challenges for grape growers with widespread crop loss and difficulties in ripening red varieties in some areas. However, we’re seeing some exciting whites with intense flavours, delicacy and higher than normal acidity. Smith’s is one of the good examples – an aromatic riesling, with just a touch of floral, but leaning more to lemon varietal character and rich but very delicate palate.

Barwang Hilltops Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $13.90–$19.99
Peter Robertson founded Barwang, the first vineyard near Young, in 1969 but sold the vineyards to McWilliams in 1989. McWilliams extended the plantings and over the years took the Barwang and Hilltops name to drinkers across the country. It’s an important brand for the region because of its reach. If the Hilltops winemaking high ground has been taken over by small makers like Clonakilla and Eden Road, Barwang continues to make really good wines at fair prices. Their 2009 cabernet is really stunning for a red under $20 ¬– packing in absolutely lovely, mulberry-like varietal flavour and retaining cabernet’s distinctive, firm structure.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 18 September 2011 in The Canberra Times

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