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2003 vintage report for Langhorne Creek (South Australia)

The season in Langhorne Creek this year was very compact, beginning slightly early and being one of the shortest in memory for many. The region experienced generally fine and warm weather throughout the growing season with only a spill of rain early in vintage. This presented little concern, only briefly slowing the harvest of red grapes and pushing the early harvest of some Riesling. Generally mild and dry conditions resulted in steady, even ripening of fruit and kept disease pressure to an absolute minimum, posing little, if any, threat to most growers.

Wineries and growers experienced a short, trouble-free vintage, though average yields were estimated to be down by 20 to 25% across the board. Crops on many older vines were drastically reduced (up to 50%), while younger plantings performed well, showing perhaps a 10% reduction in fruit load.

Most reds showed high colour and tannin with good acid levels (particularly in Shiraz). Some superb Shiraz will come from Langhorne Creek this year with great depth of colour and rich flavour. There will also be plenty of Cabernet Sauvignon with rich, fruity flavours and parcels of Malbec showing exceptional colour and intensity. Viognier, Verdelho and parcels of Petit Verdot have been equal to their best. Chardonnay, while down in yield, promises to emerge as one of Langhorne Creek’s best-kept secrets.