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The New Barossa
Part 4: Langmeil

Langmeil is another place with a sense of history. The Freedom vineyard here was planted in 1843, and these venerable old vines, planted on their own roots (as are most vines in the Barossa) still survive to this day. The recently renovated stone cottages (one is pictured, right) also date from this time – ancient history by Australian standards.

Langmeil has undergone a recent rebirth experience, which, despite the history, puts it firmly into 'new Barossa' territory.  

This used to be the Bernkastel vineyard, and before that it was Paradale, a label which began life in the 1930s. In fact, to give you a flavour for the old ways in the Barossa, there’s a poster in the winery advertising the Paradale wares. It’s hard to judge how old it is, but it’s likely from the 1950s. On offer are five different Ports, two Sherries, two Muscats and two ‘beverage wines': a Hock and a Claret. Don't you just love it?

Two old vines from the Freedom vineyard, now trellised and pruned to canes (or rods, as they are known here). It's amazing that the one on the right still bears fruit, with its split trunk.

After a leisurely morning stroll around the vineyard and winery (this was my first appointment early on Friday), it was time to taste the wines. First three whites: these are mainly for cellar door sales, to keep the punters happy. 80% of the production here is red, and it's the reds where the action is.

Langmeil Riesling 2003 Eden Valley  
Fresh, crisp and limey with nice definition. Very good+ 87/100

Langmeil Chardonnay 2003
40% barrel fermented in French oak. Classy, toasty nutty nose. Well judged oak on the palate: this is fresh and has good acidity. Very good+ 88/100

Langmeil Semillon 2003
Crisp and lemony with a nice spicy, toasty overlay. Crisp. Very good+ 88/100

Langmeil Bella Rouge Rosé 2004
Sweet nose with very bright strawberry/cherry fruit. Appealing and fun with soft red fruit flavours on the palate. Brilliantly done. Very good+ 86/100

Langmeil SGM 2003
The classic Barossa blend, with Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro (Mourvèdre). Really nice savoury, spicy palate with good definition and a nice spicy structure. Very good+ 88/100

Langmeil Cabernet 2001
Some sweet black fruits on the nose. The palate shows a minty, herby edge to the well defined fruit. Nicely savoury. Very good+ 88/100

Langmeil Cabernet 2002 (now named 'The Blacksmith')
Very nice blackcurranty fruit with a minty edge. Lovely rich, slightly herbaceous blackcurrant fruit palate with spicy structure. Delicious. Very good/excellent 90/100

Langmeil Barossa Grenache 'The Fifth Wave' 2001
I like Grenache. It's not as obvious as Shiraz, but it has its own qualities. This one is picked fairly late, so it gets more cherry character, but ends up 15.5% alcohol - it seems the key with Grenache is not to be afraid of alcohol, because unless it's really ripe you don't get the interest. This shows a richness of fruit with a nice savoury structure: very ripe and spicy. A full style of Grenache. Very good+ 89/100

Langmeil 'Valley Floor' Shiraz 2002
A regional blend. Smoky, spicy nose with nice definition. The palate shows a lovely weight of spicy, well defined fruit. Not a blockbuster style: more nicely structured with good balance. Very good/excellent 91/100

Langmeil Barossa Shiraz The Freedom 2002
Just 500 cases from these ancient vines (the ones pictured above). Sweet black fruits nose. The palate shows nice structure with a spicy edge to the rich fruit. Very elegant with smooth tannins and a spicy finish. Plenty of concentration but lovely structure and balance too. Very good/excellent 93/100

Langmeil Vintage Port 2000
A Shiraz. Sweet toffee/caramel edge to the red fruits. Lovely structure and weight on the sweet fruity palate - needs time for the spirit to integrate. Very good+ 89/100

Langmeil Tawny Port
Mainly Grenache. Nicely evolved 'tea and raisin' style with some earthiness under the sweet grapey fruit. Very good+ 87/100  

Langmeil Liquor Shiraz Tawny 1985
Very nice complexity to the nose, which shows spice, toffee and raisins. The palate is concentrated and rich with lots of spice, some elegance, and almost perfect balance. Very good/excellent 93/100

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