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JOHN ROZENTALS examines the solid foundations of a genuine Australian shiraz icon.

September 1, 2020 Beverage, Headline News No Comments Email Email

The Mount Langi Ghiran vineyard and winery are quite rightly regarded as being virtually synonmous with the late Trevor Mast who, with his wife Sandra and partner Ian Menzies, purchased the splendid central Victorian property and its fledgling vineyard, in the mid-1980s.

But the first shiraz vines had been planted years previously by WH McIntosh and the vineyard purchased in 1970 by the Italian Fratin family, who successfully made wine from there and also sold grapes to nearby Seppelts.

Brothers Don, Lino and Serge Fratin expanded the vineyard, planting cabernet sauvignon, riesling, merlot and cabernet franc, and also established groves of nuts and fruit.

Mast didn’t become involved until 1980, when he was hired as a consultant. But what a difference the quietly spoken, German-trained winemaker made, quickly turning the Mount Langi Ghiran label into an icon for Austalian cool-climate shiraz and also pursuing his love for riesling.

In 2006 Trevor was diagnosed with early-onset alzheimers and died in 2012, the wine industry being robbed of his talent far too early.

But by that time his beloved Langi was in the good, safe hands of the Melbourne-based Rathbone family who had the means to take the operation to its natural next level.

And, as I’ve said before, about Langi and other successful Australian vineyards, the rest is well documented history.

WINE REVIEWS

Yering Station 2019 Little Yering Chardonnay ($20): A tight, high-acid wine with lots of citric and white-stonefruit flavours backed by solid oak. Just don’t expect a light, innocuous unwooded dry white. It isn’t like that. It’s more of a raw, complex style with plenty of French oak backing the fruit. Try it with full-flavoured white-sauced pasta dishes with toppings such as carbonara or seafood such as lobster.

Mount Langi Ghiran 2018 Mast Shiraz ($90): A premium red named after Trevor Mast, the seminal winemaker behind Mount Langi Ghiran. Generous red-berry and spice favours highlight a very classy red made principally from vines nearly 30 years old. A variety of bunch treatments were used including whole-bunch fermentation in small open fermenters. Ferments were hand-plunged, foot-stomped and basket pressed.

WINE OF THE WEEK

Mount Langi Ghiran 2018 Langi Shiraz ($200): Mount Langi Ghiran’s best shiraz fruit goes into this inonic dry red, much of it from vines planted in 1969. I can only second the winemakers’ notes which describe the wine as “filled with layers of mulberry, liquorice and hallmark Langi spice”. It is a classic Australian cool-climate shiraz which is alluring now but will be even more so in a decade or so. Reserve it for the very best friends and the very best beef.

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