This is a classically proportioned and less oaky vintage of Glaetzer’s Directors’ Cut Heartland shiraz from Langhorne Creek that is a delight to drink. In the glass, it has aromas of coconut shavings and plum. The palate is rich, full bodied with terrific length and an expression of crushed spices. Ready to drink now or over the next decade, this is a very enjoyable wine that could sell for much more. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5. Price: $30. Website: https://www.heartlandwines.com.au/homepage-international/. Reviewed: April 2020.
Here are a couple of workman like shiraz from the Adelaide Hills and Langhorne Creek respectively.
Marko’s Vineyard Point Eight Shiraz 2015, Adelaide Hills
Everything on the label sounds right. Hand picked, small vineyard, small batch ferments and a connection to the Hill Smith family. In the glass, however, the wine is sound only. Baked spices, simple plum and plum jam aromatics. On the palate, there are some soft tannins and short length.
Heartland Director’s Cut Shiraz 2013, Langhorne Creek
Heartland’s Director’s Cut is typically a hearty style, with plenty of oak and ripe fruit that in my view suits Langhorne Creek shiraz at its best. The 2013 seemed a little toned back. It has aromatics of obvious cedar, spice, leather and plums. The palate is still plush with good length, but seemed to have less depth of flavour and balance than previous vintages.
Rating: Acceptable to Good
We have been panning for gold in a local IGA supermarket among a vinous sea of brands in the $10 to $30 price range from the corners of the continent. John Glaetzer’s wines are always very good, and therefore an easy if not local choice. The 2012 cabernet sauvignon from Langhorne Creek has aromatics of licorice, dark olive and that typical cabernet leafy character of cabernet sauvignon grown in that region. The palate is soft and full bodied, with between medium and long length.
Rating: Good to Very Good
Vendors and website: http://johnsblend.com.au (please note that this website has unexpected audio)
John Glaetzer sure is a good winemaker. This is another excellent shiraz release from this label, surpassing I think the 2009, which I also highly rated. Its aromatics remind of plums, pepper and toasted cedar. The palate is soft, fresh, well proportioned and has very long length, its flavours mostly of plums. Langhorne Creek at its finest. Very Good
Abv: 14.5%, Price: $30, Vendors and website: http://www.johnsblend.com.au (warning: the website has unexpected and dare I say unnecessary audio), Tasted: 2015
The Metala shiraz cabernet is a bit of a stalwart in the local wine scene, and for $15 or thereabouts, can be a pretty good wine. The 2012 vintage tasted here is a good one. Its aromatics remind of pepper, plum, licorice and earth. The palate has soft mid range length and licorice and plum flavours. Everything seems in balance. If they all taste like this, the 2012 Metala is a bit of a find. Good
Abv: 14%, Price: $15-$18, Vendors and website: http://www.tweglobal.com/our-brands/australia-new-zealand/metala/, Tasted: 2015
Shortly to head off overseas again, this time more unexpectedly to ride a bike up mountains near Annecy. But before I go, this is an excellent cabernet sauvignon from John Glaetzer tasted during the week. It has aromatics of chocolate mint biscuit and plums. The palate is plush, the length long, and the mouthfeel soft, its power in perfect balance. This is a near outstanding cabernet sauvignon release. It’s ready to drink now, but I also suspect it will drink well for a decade or more. A case purchase is in order.
First, a brief comment, and then the wine, which is a good one. This wine is from Langhorne Creek in South Australia. Langhorne Creek is to me a wine region that appears on labels, overtures are sometimes made as to the typicity of its terroirs in terms of what’s in the bottle, yet I don’t quite feel that its terroir is given the recognition and exploration it deserves. In this sense, the overtures can resemble study notes with headings, but no text beneath.
In terms of location, Langhorne Creek sits south east of Adelaide on the northern shores of Lake Alexandrina, inland from the Southern Ocean. The region is warm, albeit cooled by southerly winds. Rainfall is sparse (with long term rainfall of the region of only around 300mm) and irrigation is routinely practiced. The soils are mostly fertile, deep, alluvial sandy loams, and the topography is mostly flat. Salinity appears an issue. It also appears primarily the domain of large company mechanised viticulture, with approximately 6,000 hectares planted to vines. From an international point of view, these are facts more akin to a bulk wine producing region, than a fine wine region. Yet, the region can produce very good wine, and has a long history of doing just that. Terroir is a complicated master.
Heartland is made by Ben Glaetzer, and its website reveals it to be a blend of shiraz from Langhorne Creek (86%) and the Limestone Coast (14%). I thought the wine was pretty good, and was particularly pleased that the oak was well handled, allowing the fruit to sing in an unforced way. This is a juicy wine with aromatics of licorice, ripe plums and blackberry. The palate is tasty, with ripe, fruit driven flavours of plum and blackberry. A great value wine.
1. Wine Australia: http://www.wineaustralia.net.au/en-PH/australia-archive/langhorne-creek.aspx.
2. J Halliday, The Australian Wine Encyclopaedia (Hardie Grant, 2009).
3. Langhorne Creek Wine Region: http://www.langhornecreek.com/images/maps-brochures/Langhorne_Creek_Information_Booklet.pdf.
The grapes for this Cockfighter’s Ghost cabernet sauvignon are sourced from Langhorne Creek south of Adelaide, and then trucked to far away Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley to be turned into wine more than one thousand kilometres away. That grapes can travel quite so far is remarkable, although not uncommon. The result here is a pleasant sort of a wine. Its aromatics remind mostly of menthol and spice. Some pangs from its 12 months in French oak resolve with air. The palate reminds of blackcurrant, with some depth of flavour.
Ben Glaetzer doesn’t produce a shy shiraz under this label, but that doesn’t trouble me. The 2010 Heartland “Directors’ Cut” shiraz has its fruit sourced from Langhorne Creek and is a deep intensity purple in the glass, with evident tears. Its aromatics are a medium intensity expression of blackberry, cedar, vanilla, currant and, for want of a better expression, spice cupboard. The palate is dry, with medium acid, and has fine grained tannins, medium to long length, and flavours of plum, Christmas cake, vanilla and cedar and quite sweet fruit. This is simply a very good wine due to its length and concentration of fruit, and will I expect benefit from 10 years of ageing. Very Good
Vendors: Check http://www.wine-searcher.com/
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