Mount Langi Ghiran Shiraz has become an international wine icon, reinforced by its appearance alongside Penfolds Grange and Henschke's Mount Eldelston on the cover of Wine Spectator's ‘Pinnacle of Australian Shiraz' story in 1996. Now a well recognised benchmark for cool climate Australian shiraz, it is favorably compared with the northern Rhone "syrah" of Cote Rotie. Trevor Mast, regarded as one of the Australian winemaking pioneers, creates shiraz with finesse without the sacrifice of power.
Mount Langi Ghiran Winery
Originally established in the 1870's Mount Langi Ghirans reputation is built on vision, quality and passion.
The vineyards are located in a spectacular setting, at an elevation of 350 metres, situated at the base of the 540 metre cliff face of Mount Langi Ghiran. Directly opposite is the Mount Cole state forest positioning the vineyards within a 30km valley. In 1996 the winery purchased another property on the well protected northern slope of Mount Langi Ghiran which is known as the "Hollows Vineyard". Together with the original vineyards the total area under vine is 225 acres.
The original vineyards were planted in the 1870's when European immigrants traveled to Western Victoria to discover gold. Bringing vines with them from the old country they went about working the rich fertile land of the Western district, creating some of Australia oldest vineyards. The vines were replaced by sheep at the turn of the century, however the site was re established in 1963 by Italian immigrants the Fratin brothers. Their first plantings were the Swiss Clone Shiraz, taken from the 140 year old nursery block in Great Western. They soon discovered that with the unique mix of Mount Langi Ghirans environment they were producing a spicy, pepper complex wine we now know as "Langi Shiraz".
The vineyards of Mount Langi Ghiran are nestled between two dramaticlly beautiful mountain ranges on the southern end of the Great Dividing Range in the Grampians region of Western Victoria. The cool climate of Mount Langi Ghiran is unique for growing wine in Australia, and the Shiraz vines like to take their time to ripen and develop their spicy, peppery flavors making Langi one of the last vineyards to be harvested in Victoria. The vines are elevated but also sit between lofty mountains, this creates a cooling effect particularly in Autumn during ripening, as cold air tumbles down the mountains and flows through the valley at night. Another effect of the mountains is the shadowing of the vineyards before days end thus shortening the effective sunshine hours. These climatic effects are unique to Langi and explain why particularly the Shiraz harvest is late, but more importantly they are significant in producing the benchmark characteristics of Langi Shiraz.
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With a landmass the size of the US, Australia has just as many appellations. Many wines are simply labeled from their state of origin. Some of these are the most popular:
New South Wales
- New South Wales has a variety of smaller wine growing regions. Many wines are a blend of these smaller appellations, leading to the more encompassing designation of New South Wales.
– A small percentage of Australia’s winemaking occurs on the West Coast. The largest Australian state, Western Australia, includes the appellations Margaret River and Great Southern.
– This appellation encompasses the states of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. Grapes are often trucked in from at least 2 of these states for crushing and bottling, giving the wine a more general appellation of origin. This is the broadest appellation in Australia.
Like the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of
Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.