Reflections from our Winemakers
Vintage 2016 was challenging at Mount Langi Ghiran. The devastating hail event that swept the vineyard at 1am on the 28th of January was a shock to the system and a spanner to our plans; a stark reminder that Mother Nature is in control here, and is ultimately the determinant of the quality and character of our wines from year to year.
As with any type of adversity, one’s resolve can be tested. Despite this, we swiftly reset and moved towards an embrace of the challenge – driven by the pursuit to preserve every perfect berry and create the best possible wines from the Langi vineyard. In the vineyard and the winery, our skills, intuition and creativity became finely attuned to the vintage and we were able to create a Cliff Edge Shiraz that will forever stand out as being special, a little different and very much a narrative of our vintage experience.
The foundation of integrity at Langi held us in good stead. We later made the agonising call to forego a Langi Shiraz and a Mast Shiraz from the 2016 vintage in favour of creating the best Cliff Edge Shiraz possible.
Cliff Edge is the beneficiary, as is the rich and evolving fabric of Langi.
The 2015 and 2016 growing season was cumulatively warmer than average. Winter and Spring rainfall was over 4 inches below long-term average. A prolonged period of water deficits together with the warmer conditions made 2016 a particularly challenging year in the vineyard. Vintage came extremely early, with the first harvests commencing at the beginning of February and all wrapping up before Easter – the earliest on record at Langi. Besides being early, the vintage was also compressed and fast. Average yields were slightly below long-term averages, delivering highly concentrated fruit.
The 2016 Cliff Edge Shiraz is a storybook of the vintage in a glass. Wildly different to the elegant and perfumed 2015, the entirely unprecedented conditions of the 2016 growing season seemingly delivered equally unique and unexpected characters never seen at Langi before – a discovery that has the team here are pretty excited.
Fruit is unashamedly rich, deep and bold, as well as highly perfumed. What it lacks in the product offering of 2015, the 2016 vintage makes up for in fruit concentration and power with a suite of seductive spices that are both intriguing and exciting, straddling the lines of musk and pepper. The distinct red and blue flowers of the Langi vineyard are ever-present, but are at one with the lush fruit, bringing great perfume to the party.
The structure is unique and the fine, powdery, slightly savoury structure juxtaposes the rich, sweet, spicy fruit creating a balance of boldness and elegance. The sheer generosity of this wine makes it ready to drink now, while the less-ripe tannins and firmness of structure suggest this wine has a long future to settle into as well.