Langhorne Creek is part of the greater Fleurieu zone south of
Adelaide, along with McLaren Vale. First
identified in 1850 the Langhorne Creek region lies on the edge of Lake
Alexandrine, into which the Bremer River flows, its sandy alluvial floodplain
providing rich pastures.
Wines were being made by the 1870s and some of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vines
planted in 1892 are still cropping today. After the fortifieds came the dry
reds of the 60s, celebrated by a young German winemaker Wolf Blass. One of
Australias first irrigation schemes kept the ticking until salinity levels
(now at 1560 ppm) forced the authorities to allow water to be taken directly
from the Lake. This triggered a tide of corporates to rush to the area during
the 1990s, growing the area from 440 to 6400ha and constructing irrigation
pipelines of up to 100km long to feed their vines; the fruit of which is then
blended away anonymously. There are up to ten privately-owned estates waving
the Langhorne Creek banner.
The feeding frenzy can only last so long as Lake Alexandrinas levels are
dropping fast. For so long the Lakes presence has been a great climate
moderator, providing a constant breeze, maintaining a high relative humidity
(60%) & reducing the risk of frost. Were it to dry up viticulture would
probably be unfeasible.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the key grape, ripening well in the sandy soils
and benefiting from the notable daily diurnal temperature shift. The Langhorne
Creek style is a crunchy rich blackcurrant fruit profile with fine tannins
and surprising elegance. Verdelho and Shiraz are also impressive.
Noon are arguably the regions top producers