The story of Brothers in Arms is about the custodianship of a special block of land: Metala. In 1891 the first vines start growing on Metala. The original plantings of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are still producing grapes. The vineyard has expanded and evolved but at its core is the old blocks that make this one of the best sites in Australia.
It may come as a surprise to you to know that I love mature Shiraz Cabernet from Langhorne Creek. In all this wine snobbery I don’t often speak of this. But make no mistake, if I can find a good value one, I’ll slurp that stuff shamelessly, but somewhat in private. By mature I mean at the 7-12 year mark. And from the right vintage, they are great. One of the little known secrets of the wine industry is that the Langhorne Creek has been the workhorse region for a lot of popular wines. Either uncredited as a blending partner, or perhaps just downplayed as the region of origin.
Now, these wines are as Australian as they come. You’re never going to put a LC Shiraz Cab on a table with Bordeaux and have someone get confused (except maybe as to why they brought Bordeaux and you bought a cheap Aussie red). But drinking these wines are a joy. Silken with age, earthy, almost syrupy texture and so smooth you’ll have visions of Rob Thomas and Santana. One day people will start talking about this and the magic will be gone. Until that day, you and I can enjoy these wines in relative anonymity and cost effectivity.
The region that has done so much, for so many but never truly recognised for its efforts. Dry, hot and disease free, there are some lovely reds being made here or used to blend into and bolster bigger brand wines. Whites are just finding their feet too. There are a handful of excellent quality producers to watch.
A bit of a chameleon, Shiraz can change how it looks depending on terroir and/or winemaker influence. The Syrah-based wines of Northern Rhone are dry and austere while the Shiraz of Barossa is rich and fleshy. Long aging is definitely on the cards with Shiraz but it equally lends itself to drinking at any time of its evolution.
The noble variety of Bordeaux’s left bank. Firm tannins, a streak of acidity and punctuated by flavours of cassis, violets, spice and leather. The best examples can age for the long-term. Often blending with Merlot, Cabernet Franc or Shiraz will fix the hole Cabernet has in its middle palate.