Think All Australian Shiraz is Rich and Bold? Try Cool Climate Shiraz from Mount Langi Ghiran

When describing Australian Shiraz, common terms are “full-bodied”, “ripe”, “rich”, and “intense” with blue fruit, black fruit, chocolate, and spice notes. These descriptors are in line with the warmer climates of the famous Barossa Valley, the Clare Valley, and McLaren Vale. But did you know that you can also find cool-climate medium-bodied Shiraz in Australia? Meet Mount Langi Ghiran, a pioneer in cool-climate Shiraz since the 1960s. I wrote the story Learn About Mount Langi Ghiran, Australia’s Authority on Cool Climate Shiraz for Men’s Journal and share it here.

Think All Australian Shiraz is Rich and Bold? Try Cool Climate Shiraz from Mount Langi Ghiran

Shiraz is Australia’s most planted winegrape variety. It is relatively adaptable and is grown in most Australian wine regions. This includes the remote and rugged Grampian region in Victoria, located in Southeastern Australia. Home to the Grampians National Park, Langi Ghiran State Park, and Mount Cole State Forest, the Grampian region is located two hours west of Melbourne. For more than 150 years, award-winning cool climate Shiraz from some of Australia’s oldest vines has been produced in this region.

Mount Langi Ghiran was established in 1969 by the brothers Don, Lino, and Serge Fratin, Italian immigrants who had a dream of creating a little piece of Veneto in Australia. They planted vines, including the “Langi” Old Block Shiraz, as well as chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, and fruit trees. In 1980 they brought Trevor Mast in as a consultant and six years later, Trevor, his wife Sandra, and Ian Menzie purchased Mount Langi Ghiran. Trevor established Mount Langi Ghiran as a respected producer of cool-climate Australian Shiraz. In 2002, the Rathbone family purchased the property and in 2018, Adam Louder took the helm as Chief Winemaker.

Think All Australian Shiraz is Rich and Bold? Try Cool Climate Shiraz from Mount Langi Ghiran

Adam grew up less than three miles from Mount Langi Ghiran. His first job in wine was working in the cellar at Mount Langi Ghiran while going to school. Adam studied winemaker at Charles Sturt University and following university, between 2006 and 2016, Adam traveled around the world, working harvests in Bordeaux, Margaret River in Western Australia, and Napa Valley. During a harvest at Araujo under celebrated winemaker Nigel Kinsman, Adam was offered a job, but he wanted to return to Australia and returned to Mount Langi Ghiran in 2016.

Think All Australian Shiraz is Rich and Bold? Try Cool Climate Shiraz from Mount Langi Ghiran

At Mount Langi Ghrian, Adam gets to work with one of the coolest Shiraz vineyards in all of Australia. The 173-acre sustainably farmed vineyard, set between two mountain ranges (Mount Langi Ghiran and Mount Cole), sits at an elevation of 1200 feet above sea level. Long sunny days are cooled by icy winds from the Southern Ocean resulting in the grapes being some of the last to be picked. The soil profile of granite sands over sedimentary red clay loam contributes to the spicy pepper notes in the wine.

Shiraz is the dominant grape planted at Mount Langi Ghiran, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Barbera, Grenache, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Viognier are also planted. The Old Block of Shiraz, planted in 1969, is a unique Shiraz clone taken from the 140-year-old Nursery Block in Great Western. This clone predates phylloxera in the Rhone Valley and forms some of the oldest Shiraz clonal material in the world.

As leaders in cool climate Shiraz, Adam makes five distinctive bottlings of Shiraz:

Think All Australian Shiraz is Rich and Bold? Try Cool Climate Shiraz from Mount Langi Ghiran

Billi Billi 2021 Shiraz – The Billi Billi wines, named after a stream on the property, are everyday drinking wines. Made with 70% estate fruit, the 2021 Shiraz is easy drinking with fragrant rhubarb, plum, violet, and pepper notes and crunchy acidity.

Cliff Edge 2021 Shiraz – Sourced from a selection of blocks on the estate, the Shiraz is machine-picked, whole berry fermented in open concrete fermenters, and aged for 14 months in French oak barrels (35% new). The wine is vibrant with red and black fruit, baking spice, and vanilla notes with silky tannins.

Talus 2020 Shiraz – Talus is a geological term that refers to the accumulation of freed granitic rock fragments at the base of steep mountain slopes, called talus slopes. Talus is a blend of the best blocks offering a range of soils. The Shiraz is both machine and hand-harvested, naturally fermented in small open-top fermenters, and aged for 15-18 months in French oak barrels (40% new). The wine is elegant with dark cherry, currant, and chocolate notes and complex tannins.

Mast 2020 Shiraz – A tribute to Trevor Mast, a revered pioneer of cool climate Shiraz, the Shiraz is sourced from the coolest block on the property. The cool climate nose offers concentrated aromas of forest fruits, bramble, dried herbs, and spice with structured yet silky tannins on the palate.

Langi 2019 Shiraz – Sourced from the original block planted in 1969, the Langi Shiraz is the original expression of cool climate Shiraz. The grapes are selectively hand-harvested and fermented (90% whole berry) in small open-top fermenters and aged in French oak barrels (60% new). The wine is beautifully concentrated with a powerful bouquet of black and purple fruits, licorice, clove, and graphite. On the palate, the wine is balanced with velvety tannins, structured acidity, and a long finish.

Seek out these cool-climate Shiraz wines from Mount Langi Ghiran and the next time you try to describe Australian Shiraz, you might say “medium-bodied”, “vibrant”, “energetic”, and “spicy”.

Read the original story about cool-climate Shiraz from Mount Langi Ghiran in Men’s Journal.

And get to winemaker Adam Louder on the Wine Soundtrack podcast.