Less than an hour drive from the city of Adelaide, located on a broad river delta, is Langhorne Creek. This region supports around 650 people tending more than 5,500 hectares of vines. Situated in the shadow of the Adelaide Hills it is one of the driest grape growing areas in Australia, but cooling lakes and oceans help mitigate the hot northerly winds and the summer heat.
Langhorne Creek - a historic Australian wine region
It’s difficult to understand where Langhorne Creek is heading without appreciating where it has been. There is a dynamic, and usually advantageous, relationship with the bigger wine “brands” that so many associate with the region and much of the areas wines are destined for blending. These “brands” are attracted by low vine disease, flat manageable lands and an adequate water supply; factors which have combined to make Langhorne Creek one of Australia’s most historic and important wine regions. In fact, it is home to the oldest accredited Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the world, planted in 1891.
The evolution of Langhorne Creek
As the big wine companies began to settle the region, growers were needed, and from these growers we see today a generation of winemakers wanting to produce high quality wines and not merely volume production for blending. The pioneering work of the local regional association has resulted in superior vines that have allowed the local wine grape growers to improve their wine quality over the past 25 years and delivered the successful wine region we see today. The emphasis is now on wine grape growers selecting for grape quality rather than yield. A challenge for the Langhorne Creek Vine Improvement Committee in the 21st Century is to cater for a growing demand for “alternative varieties”.
The future for Langhorne Creek
Big brands invested in research and development, bought grapes from the grower, but didn’t market the region and, in many cases, disconnected the wines from the region. However, there are passionate families who have been growing grapes in Langhorne Creek for six generations and have access to vines with age and are now seeing the benefits of up to 120 years of grape growing experience. Approachability and a certain Australian-ness is evident in these wines. Wines of vitality, vibrancy and varietal character is the norm here and the community of growers and producers are advocating high quality value wines that are as passionate as they are inviting. Alternative varieties, too, are becoming a part of the offering with exciting results. Langhorne Creek is now producing wines that speak of history and tradition, but also speak to the future.
PROFILE: TESSA MURRAY
Tessa has worked at Supernormal for a year and a half as the Assistant Wine Buyer. The venue offers a fabulous wine by the glass program, sake selection, a range of whiskeys, with Riesling and Champagne a highlight. The wines listed are to be enjoyed with the food and offer a story and talking point at the table. Supernormal is located on Flinders Lane in Melbourne’s CBD. It is an inspired interpretation of Andrew McConnell’s favourite Asian eating experience, influenced by the cuisine and restaurants of Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul and Hong Kong.
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