I used to come across the term ‘concentration’ a lot over the last few years of ‘proper’ wine drinking without ever knowing exactly what it meant, until I came across Mount Langi Ghiran ‘Langi’ Shiraz 2004.
The unusual name is apparently pronounced “Mount Langee Jeeran”, and is Aboriginal for “Home of the Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo”, which is about as Aussie as you’re going to get, really.
[singlepic id=10 w=320 h=240 float=right]I came across it by happenstance, a situation that seems to disproportionally befit the more memorable bottles. A blog post by Paul Kiernan, back when he was working at Bubble Brothers, announced a limited offer they were running that I almost ignored had it not been for an incredible price comparison, namely that Langi Shiraz 2004 was available for £55 in Harrod’s of London but was €40 in Bubble Brothers of Cork, and if bought by the case that prices was reduced to €30.
A quick hop on the Harrod’s website confirmed the £55 price tag, which to be honest I wasn’t expecting, so amongst the slew of wine offers we’re constantly bombarded with this stuck out as a real deal: €30 v £55, a no-brainer really. And yes, €30 for a bottle of wine is still quite an amount of money, but my God what a bottle of wine it was.
I’ve tasted a good few of wines in my 5-year ‘career’, but as I said this is was the first one that epitomised ‘concentration’. Only medium-weighted (almost an oxymoron for an Aussie Shiraz) this was intense and precise, but delicate and intriguing. Massive damson, leather and blackberry notes, but also a touch of cooling menthol and some fragrant violet underneath. Quite intense but not overbearing, supple tannin, fab length. This goes on and on, changing flavour profiles through the evening. A stunner, in other words.
The caveat, however, is that I’m thinking this wine may be past its peak. That’s not to say it’s going bad or not worth drinking, but I’ll be prioritising my remaining four bottles when reaching for a red next time as I don’t expect that they’ll be getting any better with age from now on.
I’ve had two bottles to date: one in early 2012 and a second in the last quarter of that year. A six- to eight-month gap shouldn’t make much difference, but I felt that the second bottle was slightly more ‘jammy’ and the alcohol more evident than the first.
The converse caveat though is that I gave more time to the first bottle than the second, and the latter did, in fact, improve immensely hours later (though after the fact), which confirmed that it needs a little breathing to open the monster up and soften out.
Still though, my drinking window still stands I feel, despite the claims from Mount Langi Shiran themselves that it can last up to 20 years. Either that or I’m making an excuse to tear through the remaining bottles with abandon.
Mount Langi Ghiran ‘Langi’ Shiraz 2004
€30 originally, but sadly no longer available in Ireland it seems. Call around to mine some evening though and we’ll crack open a bottle.
100% Shiraz I’m assuming