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2014 vintage report for Langhorne Creek (South Australia)

This year the Langhorne Creek wine region experienced a “later than usual” vintage.
At the end of January the first harvesters rattled into life to begin the sparkling base intake and in late April the final loads of red grapes reached the wineries.
According to Langhorne Creek Wine Region executive officer Lian Jaensch, it has been a case of weathering the vagaries of Mother Nature this year with resilient growers battling wind, a sporadic frost event, heat and heavy rain to deliver some outstanding fruit to wineries.
“The conditions led to a long flowering period and variable fruitset which, followed by some very hot days and then rain in February, left everyone a bit nervous,” Jaensch said.
“However, reminiscent of vintages not seen since the early 2000s, some fantastic slow ripening days have produced one of the most relaxed vintages experienced in Langhorne Creek for many years.”
Early rainfall in the Adelaide Hills welcomed traditional floods through the Langhorne Creek region around mid-winter, providing deep soil moisture in the area.
A hot summer was tempered by reliable cooling breezes from Lake Alexandrina which was welcomed to help maintain natural acidity in the fruit.
Cool mornings allowed processing of most of the white grape harvest while retaining good juice quality.
“Langhorne Creek is naturally a lower rainfall area and fortunately the region was spared much of the pain of the February deluge experienced across the state with 30-40mm received,” Jaensch said.
“This also signalled the beginning of a pattern of cooler daytime temperatures which allowed fruit to finish ripening during some relatively moderate temperatures.
“The moisture boost also helped improve fruit balance and crop levels for the district. Though variable the region expects to achieve an average total vintage tonnage across the district – a relief from previous pessimistic estimates subsequent to the variable flowering period early in the season.”
Bleasdale winemaker Paul Hotker was excited about the “seriously outstanding” Cabernet in the district this year which expressed “low baume and fantastic flavour”.
Jaensch said many in the district were touting this year’s Cabernet as the best they had seen.
“This certainly bodes well for Langhorne Creek in 2014 – a year of very smart whites and fantastic reds with great flavour, moderate alcohol and loads of drinkability,” he said.