Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mount Langi Ghiran Billi Billi Shiraz, 2003

This wine is a bit older than the Saint Esprit Cotes du Rhone, and it's 100% rather than 75% Syrah, but the two wines offer a good comparison/contrast in terroir and winemaking.

The color is a deep ruby, very similar to the Saint Esprit as they are viewed side by side. Smells are also similar--blackberres, black plums, dark cherries plus a herbal lift that is extremely rare in an Australian Shiraz. Aromas are bright and fresh, probably showing their best right now since this cuvee is not a wine for long-term cellaring. On the palate, there is a full range of fruit flavors plus cassis and black pepper. A deeper wine than the Saint Esprit, at least at this stage of its development.

Mount Langi Ghiran's regular estate Shiraz is a serious ageworthy wine, the equivalent of a French Hermitage, that sells for $35 to $40. It is, in my estimation, one of top two or three Australian wines. Billi Billi also comes from estate-grown grapes, but presumably younger vines, and is made for earlier drinking. I bought this at Sam's in Chicago for about $12.


  1. I brought back a bottle of 1997 Mount Langi Ghiran Shiraz (the regular estate version) from Australia when I visited there in 2000. Still haven't tried it, as I've been saving it for a real special occasion, though I realize it's certainly due to be opened by now.

    I didn't think the Billi Billi was anything special when I tried it; actually it was sorta mediocre for its price range. Not sure which year I got.

  2. Oh, I agree that the Billi Billi is ordinary compared to the Langhi Shiraz.

    I don't have any tasting notes on the 1997 and don't actually own any of that vintage myself. But I feel confident it should not be ready to start the slide downhill. I had the 1989 a couple of years ago and was quite happy with it. I should open another soon. Somewhere, if I can find it, I have Trevor Mast's notes on his older vintages. His favorite, as I recall, was the 1995. But my experience is that nearly every vintage up to 1998 was capable of going 20 years at least.