Paul Lindner from Langmeil in Tanunda called through last week. He happened to have a string of Langmeil Valley Floor Shiraz that he and his family had made back to 1997 since inception. And starting with the current 2008 (USD 17.50) wine.

The Langmeil winery had been purchased by the Lindner family et al (cousins Carl and Richard Lindner, and brother-in-law Chris Bitter) back in 1996. It had traded previously as Bernkastel and previously to that Paradale, built back in 1932 when wine was a rare commodity.

However the attraction to the Langmeil group was the two hectares of old vine shiraz (Freedom Block), found to have been planted in 1843 and therefore Australia’s oldest producing shiraz. It was planted by Christian Auricht, what a pioneer.

Langmeil means “The Long Mile” in Barossan German and this small hamlet formed part of Tanunda town in past eras. It supported such quaint businesses as blacksmiths and cobblers.

A new housing estate named Langmeil there recently included several hundred century-old vines which were about to be grubbed for the development. Langmeil transplanted them to a site on their winery for posterity.

So Langmeil Valley Floor Shiraz 2008-1997; shows how generous Barossa shiraz can be, and in this case the wines held their fruit stage (juicy flavours, black fruits, mocha etc) for 5-7 years before descending into the second phase of maturity (earth, beefy, prune, leather and similar flavours) which is aged shiraz.

Paul remarked that for his early days of their Barossa shiraz making, supply came from six local growers, but now that is 30 sites. American oak is a feature of this style, aged two years in barrel before bottling.

Langmeil have made it a particular interest to source grapes from very old vineyards; 50, 60, 80 and over 100 years-old. The range of wines offered is known as Old Vine Garden Wines, named very traditionally yet with simple intentions.

The Fifth Wave Grenache 2008 91 (USD 26) is sweet smelling but not of oak, just ripeness, picked before the summer heatwave, has chalky soft tannins and is very drinkable.

The Jackaman’s Cabernet 2008 90 (USD 43.50) is rich and ultra-ripe, one of those chocolate styles where high ripeness and varietal flavour intermingle.

Orphan Bank 2008 90 (USD 43.50) is an old vine shiraz which includes the transplanted vines, very closed wine, quite elegant in its tannins and suggesting it will take time to show its full maturity.

The Freedom 1843 2008 94 (USD 87) is nicely forward on the nose, shows charriness from 60 percent new French oak use, then good shiraz silkiness and lots of red fruit flavour.

Langmeil has 25 hectares under their careful eye but are finely tuned to understand the vagaries of old vineyards, and class shows in the glass.

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