Mount Langi Ghiran

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 April, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 April, 1999, 12:00am

Strange name, Mount Langi Ghiran. It adorns the simple labels of a superior range of wines, from mountainous Western Victoria. Still, you could hardly call a wine 'Home of the Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo' which is what Mount Langi Ghiran means in the local Aboriginal dialect.

Settlers first planted grapes here a century ago, but it was not until the brothers Fratin began seriously growing shiraz in 1968 that the region began to make a name for itself. The winery is now owned by Trevor Mast.

With 90 hectares under vine, Langi Ghiran should be a huge producer. But Mr Mast has a strict philosophy of grape control, believing that the fewer berries picked from a vine, the better the quality. Stringent pruning ensures this and in turn the wine delivers a powerful, loving flavour.

Importer Caldbecks (fax: 2637 4695) brings in a good selection. The straight shiraz is a pricey $285 which is not bad for a gorgeous red of very classy standing. I prefer the cabernet sauvignon and merlot blend, at $240, but you will be lucky to find any of this elegant wine left in stock.

The Billy Billy Creek shiraz-grenache mixture is lovely. At $180, it is a good buy. It is not strange that this particular blend is made so often in Australia; the two grapes are a happy marriage of the strength of the shiraz and the soft beauty of the grenache. Think I am waxing lyrical? Try this stuff and you will spout like Shakespeare.

The Grampian mountain region in Victoria is high elevation, comparatively cool climate with high rainfall and loamy clay soils rich in minerals. Take those conditions and a talented winemaker, and you get very good wines.

This went wonderfully with a heavy garlicky pasta.