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Australia in difficulty but top performers increase: Langton’s

The number of fine wine producers is on the rise in Australia despite the industry facing 'difficult times', Langton's has said as it releases its new Classification.

Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier: ‘Exceptional’

The fifth Langton’s Classification of Australian Wines has seen the number of top performing wines rise 20%, from 101 to 123 entries.

Langton’s, Australia’s leading wine auctioneer, released its first Classification – ‘a ranking of Australia’s best-performing wines based on market demand and vintages made’ – in 1991. It then recognised just 34 wines in the top category.

While the standard of Australian wines has certainly improved since 1991, Langton’s founder and general manager Stewart Langton admitted they were increasingly tough to sell.

‘It’s a difficult time to be commenting on Australian fine wine because of the rising dollar and the financial meltdown.’ he told Decanter.com. ‘Our industry has huge problems of oversupply. The truth is that internationally we are known for super premium wines like Grange or super cheapies like Nottage Hill and it’s difficult for those in between.

‘I’m a firm believer that we should be concentrating on super premium wines. We should not be for £5 quaffers,’ he added.

In the new Classification, Canberra winery Clonakilla has been promoted to the Australian equivalent of first growth – ‘Exceptional’ – for its Shiraz/Viognier blend.

‘This is a totally new style that has emerged. It’s a style that has come out of Cote Rotie but 15 years ago the style did not exist in Australia,’ Langton said.

The Classification is revised every five years. ‘It’s like the 1855 Classification based on sales but we don’t want it to be set in stone. By revising the Classification every five years, it gives wineries the time to emerge.’

New members of the Langton’s classification include Pyrenees-based Dalwhinnie’s The Eagle Shiraz and Barossa Valley producer Kaesler for its Old Bastard Shiraz.


Written by Rebecca Gibb

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