Although the climate at Mount Langi Ghiran is marginal for grape growing, it is ideal for producing cool climate wines of distinctive character. The vineyards are situated at the base of the 922 metre cliff face of Mount Langi Ghiran, at an elevation of 350 metres above sea level. Approximately 3km opposite is the equally majestic Mount Cole. The two mountains create a cooling effect as cold air tumbles down the mountains and flows through the valley at night. During Autumn, the shadow thrown by the mountain shortens the effective sunshine hours, creating perfect conditions for an extended ripening period.
Under these conditions, berry ripening is slow, grapes retain excellent acid levels and produce the intense fruit flavours for which the Langi wines are known. In fact, due to the temperature, Mount Langi Ghiran is always among the last Shiraz vineyards to be picked in Australia. With a Mean January Temperature (MJT) of 18.35 degrees C, Langi is colder than Launceston in Tasmania, which has MJT of 20.4 degrees C.
Mount Langi Ghiran has an unusual soil profile that is rarely found in Australian viticulture. The mountain itself is an isolated geological feature, through erosion granite sands have permeated the sedimentary red clay loam creating an ideal texture for moderating the natural vigour of the Shiraz vine.
The Shiraz vine originated in the Rhône Valley in France where over the centuries it developed a natural affinity for the granite soils. And so it is here at Mount Langi Ghiran that we find the greatest expression of Shiraz lies in these soils. Thus the soils at Mount Langi Ghiran create wines with character and distinction, which resonates with the wines grown on granite.
The Old Block at Mount Langi Ghiran, home to the iconic Langi Shiraz, was planted to the Swiss clone Shiraz taken from the 140 year old Nursery Block in Great Western. This unique clone of Shiraz is perfectly matched with the cool climate of the Grampians, producing spicy pepper characteristics for which Mount Langi Ghiran has become renowned.
The clone arrived in Australia with Swiss immigrants venturing to Western Victoria in search of gold. This clone is unique in that it predates phyloxera in the Rhone and forms some of the oldest Shiraz clonal material anywhere in the world.
In 1981, cuttings taken from the old block are now the backbone for the Cliff Edge Shiraz, warmly referred to as the ‘Baby Langi’. Mount Langi Ghiran now has 80 hectares under vine, primarily red grapes, the dominant variety of course being Shiraz. While 80% of the production is Shiraz, other varieties planted at the estate include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and the white varieties: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling.