Italian immigrants, the Fratin Brothers, originally planted the Mount Langi Ghiran vineyard in 1963 captivated by the sentimental notion that it reminded them of home. They planted vines, nut trees and fig trees to create their little piece of Veneto here in Australia. Unable to find any Italian wine varieties they instead planted the local Shiraz vine… this Shiraz has since become the famed source of Langi Shiraz.
It was not until Trevor Mast decided to collect and plant Sangiovese that Italian varieties finally found their place at Langi. In 1992, Trevor planted Sangiovese at the highest point of the Langi property (400m) to explore the potential of this classic Tuscan variety. Over his years of marketing Langi wines to the UK, Trevor had formed a close friendship with Italian winemaker Paolo Di Marchi of Isole e Olena and between them they conspired to ‘swap’ their favourite varieties, Trevor sent Shiraz and Paolo, Sangiovese and Barbera. It took many years for the vines to clear quarantine and it was not until 2000 that Trevor finally planted the Italian imports here at Mount Langi Ghiran. The Barbera making just one and half rows from the vines that survived the quarantine process.
Since then with the passing of the years and the changing of the guard the little plot of Barbera has had to bide its time, it had to develop some stature and try to catch the eye of the winemaker. In 2015 it arrived.
2015 presented us with a special vintage. Fruit on the vine looked and tasted delicious. Flavour, acid, tannin – it was all there in effortless balance and poise. Ben and Jess, our winemakers, decided to hand-pick the one and a half rows of Barbera separately, and explore what was possible.
“This is the first Barbera I have ever made; I didn’t know what I was doing, and again it reinforces my belief that so much of winemaking is about “feel”, intuition and trusting experiences you can draw on. I really treated the Barbera as though I was making a nimble, medium bodied shiraz with delicate but firm structure and vivid, well-defined varietal fruit character – and capturing that classic Langi perfume and spice.” – Ben Haines, Chief Winemaker
The fruit was gently de-stemmed in to an old puncheon that we stood upright and knocked the head out of to create a mini open fermenter. The berries were left to ferment naturally, with hand plunging twice per day. Once fermentation was complete, the wine was left to soak on its skins for a period of three weeks before basket pressing to old barrels. After 14 months in barrel on lees, the wine was racked straight to bottle, unfiltered – a mere 40 cases were produced.
The result is a wine that is medium bodied, highly perfumed and rippling with a supple core of fruit that is red, blue and black, but remains delicate and savoury.
“One of the most incredible features of the Langi vineyard for me is its ability to almost transcend variety in the way it accentuates the spices, perfume and core fruit of all its wines. Amazing” – Ben Haines
With a little time in the glass, Langi nuances will be revealed in all their glory.
The 2015 Spinoff Barbera is available at Cellar Door and for Wine Club Members online too.