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David Pike this week shows that his appreciation of a fine drop extends well beyond the border, as he looks at some of the best from South Australia and Victoria.

IT is a commonly held view, especially here in the west, that the WA wine community produces most of the nation’s best wines. Despite this, every now and then you come across a number of wines from t’other side that don’t look too bad. This week I thought I would have a look at the wines from Langmeil and Yering Station.

The former is a small, well-established Barossa Valley winery, while Yering Station in Victoria’s Yarra Valley has a long, proud history.

Both wineries have just found a new distributor in Perth.

Langmeil winery is located in the Barossa Valley just outside Tanunda. For a better indication of the location you can have a look at the map on the website www.langmeilwinery.com.au

The history of Langmeil goes way back in time to 1843 to the area’s first European settlers. One of those early settlers was Christian Auricht, to whom the team at Langmeil winery is very indebted.

It was Mr Auricht who planted the property’s first vines in the mid 1840s, giving the current owners access to some of the Barossa’s oldest vines.

These vines are still actively producing intensely flavoured fruit from this dry grown site of only 3.5 acres. Marketing manager James Lindner says that, in a good year, the winery is able to nearly get 2.5 tonnes of fruit per acre during harvest.

Langmeil winery was formally known as Paradale winery, and later Bernkastel Wines. In 1996 a group of local businessmen, all ‘Barossans’, gained control of the run-down property surrounding the vineyard originally planted by Christian Auricht and began to restore the property’s buildings and revive the old shiraz vineyard.

Such has been their dedication to his program of restoration that they have received the ‘Cellar Door’ award for small wineries from the Barossa Wine and Tourism Association.

I haven’t visited the winery but on my next visit across the border it will be a definite stop. And as for the wines, well, they aren’t half bad either.

Langmeil Fifth Wave Grenache 1999 rrp $30.00 rating 17.25/20

Named after the generation of families involved. A single vineyard wine with vines planted around the time of the Second World War. The vines are dry grown and the wine spends a couple of years mellowing in two-year-old barrels.

You get a wow factor on the nose, no dominating flavours, just funky wafts of ripe fruit with a slightly earthy character. Sweet and sour flavour greets you on the palate with touches of cherries, plums, prunes and brambles, plenty of power and finished with great length. The wine shows a little bit of alcohol towards the back palate, but soak it up with some lamb shanks and you wouldn’t notice the 15.5 per cent content.

Langmeil Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 rrp $22.00 rating 17.50

Varietal aromas that are bright and vibrant, cassis notes with black cherry and integrated oak characters.

The palate displays massive ripe blackberries and blackcurrants with a balance of acidity and oak handling. A slight greenness of tannin flows through the wine, which is vibrant and finishes long, with plenty to look for.

Langmeil ‘The Freedom’ Shiraz 1999 rrp $55+ rating 18.75

An amazing punch of fragrant floral awaits your senses as you shove your hooter into this wine. Vanillin, chocolate, blackcurrant pastels, touches of licorice – the complexity is rampant. Once on the palate you are treated to a mouthful of dense fruit, damsons, spice and blackcurrant.

This is not a shy wine. Attractive acidity and oak handling together with a layered palate will see this wine still drinking towards the end of this decade. Only 350 dozen made.

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Planted in 1838, Yering Station, which is situated in the Yarra Valley in Victoria, is said to be the first vineyard to be planted in that State.

A few years later a bloke called Paul de Castella began planting more vines and built a spectacular house, Chateau Yering, which is now a delightful luxury hotel.

Yering Station itself gained new owners in early 1996 when the Rathbone family acquired the property and built a spectacular state-of-the-art winery the following year.

An interesting piece of trivia is that the cabernet vines planted in those early years were from cuttings taken from the world renowned Chateau Lafite. No wonder I liked their cabernet.

Over the years Yering Station has produced some spectacular wines, so an opportunity to taste through their range of wines was a satisfying experience.

Yering Station Viognier 2001 rrp $24.00 rating 16.75

Quite stunning varietal aromas, floral with honey, musk and a little citrus. The palate showed some dynamics with some floral touches and an explosive mid palate of lemon, lime citrus and a hint of marzipan.

The wine shows some length and finesse with a cool-climate elegance. Interesting to see this variety at only 12.5 per cent alchohol content.

Yering Station Shiraz 2000 rrp $23.00 rating 18.75

I had to go back to this wine a couple of times just to make sure I wasn’t fooling myself. This is a stunner.

Spicy with briary fruit character and oak complexity and a slight floral lift. It has a dense palate with a fantastic concentration of fruit, ripe cherries and plums.

Integration flows through the wine with great handling of the acidity, tannins and oak, some mid palate spice and licorice. A vibrant wine that leaves you asking for more please. This is a must buy.

Yering Station Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 rrp $35.00 rating 18.75

This is the first reserve cabernet made at Yering Station and only 500 dozen are available Australia wide.

Massive brooding colour greets you with aromas that form around ripe blackberries and brambles with touches of refined oak characters.

The palate seems endless, right from the time you pour it in. Ripe fruits greet you to create a balanced wine with all the essential elements in play. The oak is playing a big part at present but doesn’t over dominate an intense wine that is showing great pedigree.

All wines available through Four Seasons Fine Wines, contact 9227 1250.

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