UK trade have said the historic line-up of Australia’s finest wines poured in last week’s Langton’s Classification tastings were one of the most informative tastings of Australian wine yet.
The tastings, held in the UK for the first time in 12 years in London’s Australia House on Monday 21 and Edinburgh’s Balmoral Hotel on Wednesday 23 March, comprised a master class presented by Andrew Caillard MW, followed by a free-pour tasting that featured 58 wines (London) and 39 wines (Edinburgh).
Guests praised the quality of some of Australia’s finest and rarest wines poured at the events – which included Brokenwood ‘Graveyard’ Shiraz 2013, Cullen ‘Diana Madeline’ Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc 2013 and Seppeltsfield ‘100 Year Old Para Vintage’ Tawny 1889 – saying it served as an exciting reminder of the depth of Australia’s fine wine portfolio and rich heritage.
Wine-pages.com editor Tom Cannavan said the tasting in Edinburgh was ‘fascinating on many levels’.
‘Though commonly perceived as a ‘new’ wine producing country, it was a reminder of Australia’s wine heritage, and the story was brilliantly told in both words and wine,’ he said.
‘So many of the wines on show were vibrant and complex, had moderate alcohol, great freshness, balance and drinkability.
‘Events like this blow away preconceptions and reinforce the message about contemporary Australian fine wine, and that’s invaluable.’
In London, Wine Australia also partnered with wine merchants FINE + RARE to showcase the quality of Australian fine wine to their top customers in an exclusive tasting following the trade event, with the aim of selling more Australian fine wine to these discerning wine consumers.
FINE + RARE Head of Sales Craig Norton said, ‘Langton’s is an invaluable benchmarking tool for collectors.’
‘The tasting highlighted the quality, rarity, depth and historical strength of some of the top Australian wines. Also the age of some of the vines can often go beyond a century, producing fruit of an incredible quality and wines that reward cellaring.
‘We’ve had many requests following the tasting for some of the night’s favourites.’
Edinburgh attendee, owner and managing director of wine merchant WoodWinters, Doug Wood, said it was a treat to have such quality from across Australia’s diverse wine regions.
‘The tasting and master class has given me greater depth to my Australian wine knowledge, which I can share with my team and customers to help us promote premium Australia,’ he said.
‘Often we get to see old world wines in this state so to see how the Australians do it was a rare and impressive contrast.’
Wine journalist Sarah Ahmed described the calibre of fine wines alongside each other in London as a major draw card for attendees. She said this provided a ‘unique glimpse’ into the wines that have influenced winemakers’ and consumers’ perceptions of Australian fine wine.
Meininger’s Wine Business International Editorial Consultant Robert Joseph said the classification is a helpful way to group together wines that are worthy of closer attention.
‘The quality of Australian wine rises with every vintage – a point that was confirmed by the range selected for the tasting,’ he said.
‘While most of the attendees of the master class were very well informed about the history of Australian wine, Andrew had plenty of fresh and sometimes surprising nuggets of information to offer that could prove invaluable.’
Treasury Wine Estates General Manager, Europe, Dan Townsend said the Langton’s tasting provided them with a strong platform to discuss the best of Australia and to demonstrate the cellaring potential.
‘Bringing together the most prized wines in Australia for one tasting provided a compelling argument for anyone doubting Australia’s fine wine credentials, producing wines to rival anywhere in the world,’ he said.
‘Building the reputation and drawing more consumers into Australian fine wine can only benefit Penfolds and it was great to see such a good turn out from trade and media.’
Wine Australia’s General Manager, Marketing, Stuart Barclay, said the Langton’s Classification tastings supported its long-term goal for Australia to be seen as the world’s preeminent fine wine producer.
‘The Langton’s Classification and fine wine piece is critical in telling the Australian story and this resonated with the UK trade,’ he said.
‘This was a significant tasting for us in one of our most important export markets and the positive reaction to Australian fine wine by guests who attended was palpable. I know that guests walked away with a better understanding of the quality and breadth of Australian wine.’
The Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine is a form guide of Australia’s finest collectable wines. Comprising a three-tiered rating (Excellent, Outstanding and Exceptional) it is recognised internationally as the reference to Australia’s most distinguished wines.