Mount Langi Ghiran Billi Billi Creek Shiraz 1997
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.
Though Syrah originated in the Rhône Valley of France, Australia is home to the oldest Syrah (called Shiraz here) vines on the planet. Found in Australia’s Barossa Valley, where phylloxera has never threated viticulture, these ancient vines are between 140 to 175 years old!
Having brought fame and merit to the country’s wine scene since the early 1950s, namely via the debut of Penfolds Grange, today Syrah (Shiraz) claims rank as the most widely planted grape in Australia. In fact, the amount of land dedicated to Shiraz in Australia is now almost equivalent to what it is in France. Australian Shiraz has its own personality with flavors and aromas of intense blackberry, fruitcake, menthol, tobacco leaf and umami. Conveniently one can find great Australian Shiraz at a variety of price points but the very best will be dense, gloriously complex and capable of long aging.