By Tim Ashdown
WORD GOT AROUND Adelaide’s National Wine Centre early on. Grab your glass and head to the far left corner of the room – before they run out. More on what was there in a moment. This was the Langton’s tasting, a feature event at Tasting Australia 2014, and there was no time to waste.
The Langton’s guide is basically an inside scoop on the best wines in Australia. “The paramount form guide to Australia’s finest wines,” according to Andrew Caillard who drew up the first Langton’s list of Aussie wine 25 years ago. “It is based on reputation, and on track record at auction.”
This year’s classification is the sixth Australian edition.
The Tasting Australia event – which sold out quickly – was a chance to celebrate the wines on the list in the only appropriate way: by tasting them.
Many of the wines had big reputations, which brings us back to the far left corner of the room where the Penfolds team was pouring Grange. It’s still the big name in Australian wine.
“The iconic Penfolds Grange Shiraz remains at the head of Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine VI,” said Andrew. “It is a cornerstone of the Australian secondary market and enjoys a unique place in the narrative of Australian fine wine.”
It was understood there was only so much available for tasting, and when it was gone it was gone. Everyone wanted a slurp, which probably explains the rush.
In his opening remarks, Tasting Australia co-creative director Paul Henry noted, “From the noise in the room it’s clear to me that the tasting is already well and truly underway.”
But the false start didn’t dampen the mood.
“I’m finding it very difficult to contain both my pride and excitement in welcoming you to the Langton’s Classification VI tasting,” said Paul.
“It’s nice to think when curating a festival that all events are created equal, but I have a confession that this has been one that’s been particularly in my head and somewhat in my heart for a period of time,” he said.
And then the tasting began in earnest.
Penfolds, Henschke, Rockford, Torbreck, Wendouree – the wines on show read like a roll call of Australian wine honours students.
Also sending a buzz around the room was Seppeltsfield’s 100 year old Vintage Tawny, which rumour had it you could still taste 15 minutes after you tried it. The wine is rated Exceptional by Langton’s and Andrew says this wine, along with Henschke’s Mount Edelstone Shiraz (also rated Exceptional), is helping continue the ascendancy of the Barossa.
“They reflect the region’s colonial vision, distinct voice of place and hallowed reputation among wine collectors,” said Andrew.
As much as anything the night was a chance to celebrate the people, the vineyards and the history behind all the wines in the current classification. And while there was much more than just the Grange to taste, it was the first one to run out.
Told you to head to the far left corner of the room.