Julian & Alana Langworthy’s single-site 2019s
Here it is, release number five. In that brisk half-decade this tiny-batch husband-and-wife outfit has taken out trophies for pink, white and red wines, and Julian Langworthy has been named Winemaker of the Year.
Such bountiful talent – and the huge sense of confidence and fun embodied by Julian and Alana Langworthy – means Nocturne never got to enjoy life as a dark horse or best-kept-secret. No; this is a shining, strutting thoroughbred that wine-lovers among the trade and general public punted on from the off. The faithful have reaped their winnings in spades.
Such is the demand that the wines generally do their dash after a few short months of availability. They’ll mature beautifully given the chance but whether for slaying down or laying down, you still have to pounce quickly to get your paws on them.
This as ever is a very exciting wine from a vineyard on the edge. Despite always ripening late, loving to get botrytis and generally giving me extreme levels of anxiety, it’s a vineyard that makes a unique wine.
This is the single-vineyard Chardonnay from the 0.37Ha Tassell Park site in Treeton. The vineyard is interplanted with gin gin clone and Burgundian 277 clone. Handpicked very late on 9th April and whole bunch-pressed directly to new, one- and two-year-old puncheons, with no settling or fining processes. Spontaneous fermentation, with the wine staying on gross lees unsulphured until September of that year. In December the wine was emptied from barrel, settled, filtered and bottled.
The 2019 is a super compelling and incredibly complex wine. Pale green with Tassel Park’s hallmark flint, funk and cool sea-breeze character. The palate is incredibly long and fine and likely more balanced than these wines generally are in their youth. Subtle oak character frames crunchy white nectarine and a perfect al dente structure. – Julian & Alana Langworthy
A bit of struck match and funk, white nectarine, lime, almond, brine and something like wet fern adding a slight green edge. It’s tight and crunchy, fine-boned and light, a subtle pineapple cream flavour in with the other more saline/savoury/nutty complex things. Distinct flinty and cool and clear feel, along with excellent length. Really good drinking now too. Frisky.95 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
This vintage was very cool from a Cabernet point of view. In the Sheoak vineyard this presented no issues as we had a lovely April just getting the right amount of concentration into the fruit while retaining elegance and natural charm. In fact 2019 has grown on me a huge amount; it has such silky elegance while retaining a beautiful sense of place, space and charm.
The fruit was picked on 13th April, a full month later than the 2018 vintage. While tasting the fruit in the vineyard it was clear that there were lovely flavours and supple tannins. Once crushed and into tank, the must exhibited the hallmark amazing colour and silky epic tannin that this vineyard is renowned for. The fruit was simply destemmed and fermented in 4.5-tonne static fermenters. After 12 days on skins and a peak ferment temperature of around 26˚C, the wine was pressed to tank and settled briefly, before being transferred to a combination of new (25%) and two-year-old barrels to undergo malolactic conversion. This wine was racked only once in this time and, after 18 months in oak, was emptied from barrel, settled, clarified and bottled.
The Sheoak Vineyard makes expressive, medium-bodied Cabernets. This release embodies that DNA. It’s a beautifully coloured wine. The nose has lifted warm spice, while cranberry and crunchy red fruits leap from the glass. The palate is presented on powder-fine cassis-laden tannins, and great freshness from natural acidity drives the wine to a long, joyous conclusion. A very serious yet seriously drinkable release. Feel free to cellar if you can resist its immediate appeal . Great Cabernet Sauvignon is where enlightenment and enjoyment come together – and if that doesn’t sound like you, go buy some Shiraz. – Alana & Julian Langworthy
Interesting wine. There’s a distinct walnut, cedar and furniture polish smell about it, or camphor chest, or similar. Aside that, dark chocolate, black fruit, pepper, some cranberry acidity and freshness, dry grainy tannin of grip and again a walnut/hazelnut skin character, brooding and a little herbal at the same time. Finish is good, all fresh blackberry, nori and nuts. Quite like it, but it’s an unusual wine all the same.92 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front