Friday, September 6, 2013

Langtons Classification Tasting

Langtons Classification is Australia's most authoritative categorization of its best wines. Langtons uses auction results to group the top wines into exceptional, outstanding, excellent and distinguished. Overall,123 wines are currently classified. How exactly this is done is shrouded in mystery.

For the second time, Langtons just organized a tasting of all these wines. Most wineries poured their current releases. Some were a bit sneaky, such as Bass Phillip and Wendouree, who only showed one of their wines listed - but their production levels are small -, some showed up to three years. All in all, it was an amazing tasting. If you wanted to taste all wines, you had roughly one minute per wine.

This was obviously not practical. I left out those wines that I either knew well or was not particularly interested in tasting (in this context). Given this format, I could not take decent tasting notes. So what I will represent here is my own classification into three levels, one being the best. What I was looking for at that level was a wine which had intensity or depth, balance and elegance and silky tannins (in reds). It also needed to stand out in terms of 'personality' or character. Following are my results:

Level 1: 2010 Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir, 2010 Bass Phillip Premium Pinot Noir, 2008 Henschke Hill of Grace, 2012 Jasper Hill Emily's Paddock Shiraz Cabernet Franc, 2010 Wantirna Amelia Cabernet Merlot, 2010 Torbreck RunRig Shiraz/Viognier.

Close to level 1 were: 2010 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Dalwhinnie Eagle Shiraz, 2010 Dalwhinnie Moonambel Shiraz, 2010 Mount Mary Pinot Noir

Level 2:
2007 Penfolds Grange
2011 Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz
2005 Chris Ringland Shiraz
2008 Clarendon Hills Astralis
2010 Clonakilla Shiraz/Viognier
2011 Cullen Diana Madeline
2011 Giaconda Chardonnay
2010 Mount Mary Quintet
2010 (I think) Best's Thomson Family Shiraz
2008 Grant Burge Meshach Shiraz
2012 Jasper Hill Georgia's Paddock Shiraz
2009 Kaesler, Old Bastard Shiraz
2009 Elderton Command Shiraz
2010 Giaconda Warner Vineyard Shiraz
2010 Seppelt St. Peters Shiraz
2009 Torbreck Descendant Shiraz/Viognier
2010 Vasse Felix Heytesbury Cabernet Blend
2010 Yeringberg Cabernet Blend
2010 Castagna Genesis Syrah (also 2005)
2008 Pewsey Vale Contours Riesling
2010 Rolf Binder Hanisch Shiraz
2009 Tyrell's Vat 47 Chardonnay

Level 3:
2007 McWilliams Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon
2010 Noon Reserve Shiraz
2011 Pierro Chardonnay
2011 Lake's Folly Cabernet
2013 Leo Buring Leonay Riesling
2010 Mount Mary Chardonnay
2005 Wendouree Shiraz/Mataro
2012 Crawford River Riesling
2010 Savaterre Chardonnay

As you can tell, not a great night for white wines. Big bodied Shirazes did not dominate the top level, it was more subtlety which provided the highlights. A lot more could be said, but this post is already pretty long.  

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