Saturday, 18 February 2012

I love Langhorne Creek

I recently read an article by Winsor Dobbin on the Langhorne Creek wine region, south of South Australia. He essentially described the region as an unknown gem... that the region produced some of the finest fruit which has gone into a number of award-winning wines, including Wolf Blass Grey Label, and yet the region is pretty unknown to the majority of consumers and is often overshadowed by the more famed regions like McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills.

I decided to find out for myself last weekend when I visited the region with a friend for a festival called Love Langhorne Creek. The festival, in its infancy, is one of many events that wineries from the region have committed to hosting for 2012 in an attempt to paint themselves on the national wine map.

As part of the two-day festival, which took place February 11-12, wineries opened their cellar doors to the public to show off some of the new and exciting alternative varieties they have to offer. Of course they also showed off their traditional varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon (did you know Langhorne Creek boasts the oldest recorded Cab Sav vines in the world?).

Particular goodies include Malbec (I loved Bremertons), Petit Verdot and Montepulciano (damn I love that name). Bleasdale also do a good Cab Sav. Men of Kent by Cleggett Wines is a particularly interesting wine. It’s mainly Cab Sav but features 4 per cent Shalistin.

In case you’re wondering, Shalistin is Cabernet Sauvignon – except it is white. Yes! A white red wine... Not exactly. It’s a white coloured grape that evolved naturally at a Cleggett-owned vineyard in Langhorne Creek back in 1991. In fact, the story started in 1977 when Cleggett owners Malcolm (Mac) Cleggett and Anne McLennan discovered some bronze grapes on their Cab Sav vineyard. The couple decided to propagate cuttings and, in 1991, the couple realised the bronze vines were punching out some odd white grapes.

The couple registered both unique varieties – the bronze is known as Malian and the white is known as Shalistin – and now produce wines from both, attracting interest on the world-wide circuit.

I bought three wines at the event:

- Cleggett’s Men of Ken 2010
$20, available at cellar door or online:

- Gipsie Jack Petit Verdot 2005
$22 (approx), available at cellar door or online:

- Kimbolton Brad’s Block Montepulciano 2008
$28, available at cellar door or online:

Let me point out that I am in no way a wine expert. I’m simply an enthusiast with a mighty young palate. So what do I think about the Gipsie Jack Petit Verdot 2005, you ask. Well, I'd say it's remarkably different from the 2007 version and, in my opinion, much nicer. It’s not as tannic but still punches some deep red fruit flavours. I’d match this wine with a song by Dean Martin on any mild summer weeknight.

I’d also like to point out that the name Gipsie Jack (a joint venture between John Glaetzer and Bill Potts) was named after John’s dog – a Jack Russell named Gipsie, who is proudly displayed on every label. Love it.

For more information about the region and local wineries, visit:

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