After starting in New Zealand it's time to cross over the Tasman Sea to South Australia, and pay a visit to Langhorne Creek and stop by Heartland wines.
Wine growing in the Langhorne Creek region of South Australia dates back as far as 1850, and was originally a watering stop and then a cattle stop for drovers moving cattle across the country. It got it's name from two drovers, Alfred and Henry Langhorne who settled there to raise cattle, and then later discover it's potential for growing grapes.
Moving forward to today, and three more people have discovered the delights of wines from Langhorne Creek and teamed up together. Grant Tilbrook, who has consulted all across the Australian wine trade for many years and Scott Collett who has run the family wine business in McLaren Vale since 1982 have teamed up with young Australian winemaker Ben Glaetzer, who has known of the potential of Langhorne Creek for a long time from his uncle John, who has over 40 years of wine making experience and won a prestigious four Jimmy Watson trophies.
Langhorne Creek is situated about 80 kilometres south-east of Adelaide and founded on the broad flood plains influenced by the local Bremer and Angas rivers which are dominated by the magnificent River Red Gums, then running down to the nearby Lake Alexandrina. It has a markedly cooler climate than many of it's neighbouring regions, this is partly down to what the locals call the lake doctor, these are the winds coming off the nearby Lake. These winds have a cooling effect on the summer sun and help to ward against pests and damaging winter frosts, but the difference to the climate is quite dramatic.
The grapes are transported over a hundred kilometres to Barossa Vintners in Tanunda which is where Ben makes and matures his wines at his state of the art winery, and where he makes the 2010 Directors Cut Shiraz. All the grapes come from the Langhorne Creek region and are picked at night and crushed in small open top stainless steel fermenter's where it is allowed 24 of skin contact before the fermentation is started. It then go's through eight days of cool fermentation with three daily hand plunges before being placed in American and French Oak Hogheads for 14 months ageing before release.
In the glass, you got this wonderfully deep, almost opaque inky purple colour, with pronounced aromas of dark fruit, cassis and cherries followed by gentle sweet spices of liquorice and vanilla with a hint of pepper. On the palate these all came through with amazing depth of flavour on the fruit and beautiful integration with the spice that just lingered in your mouth for ages. To go along with all the fruit and spice you had plenty of fine juicy tannins and a balanced acidity that made your mouth water just enough to help wash the flavours around your palate.
I've been a fan of Ben's wines since I was introduced to them a couple of years ago, and they just keep getting better with every vintage, and this one certainly didn't disappoint. It was just an absolutely stunning glass of wine which will on;y get better with time, and for me was what a proper Aussie Shiraz should be. It Is one that I'd say every time you saw a bottle, you should buy it.