The Cunning Plan Shiraz, Langhorne Creek, 2015
The flood plains between the Angas and Bremer rivers have long been home to some of South Australia's best fruit and it is the cream of the Langhorne Creek crop that we use to craft The Cunning Plan. The region tends towards later ripening than the Barossa or McLaren Vale and this allows us to use perfectly ripe fruit at lower sugar levels which results in wines with better alcohol balance.
The season began well with good winter rains followed by a dry spring which resulted in consistently good fruit set. November and December were cool and this pattern was only briefly punctuated by a burst of heat over the New Year period which had people thinking back to the 14 days of plus 40 heat in ‘14. Thankfully, January continued with cooler weather, some 2 degrees cooler than normal. Predictions at this time seemed to suggest a normal or even late harvest. Mother nature has a way of making fools of all of us and what followed in February was extraordinary. Steady, though not extreme, heat saw ripening accelerate to the extent that by the middle of February, there was a mad rush to harvest fruit right across the Barossa and McLaren Vale. Langhorne Creek benefitted from cooler conditions though and the first pristine fruit entered the winery on 5th March.
Winemaking is simple with The Cunning Plan. Take perfectly balanced, just ripe fruit, pick, gently crush to preserve whole berries and allow to soak for 4 days to extract colour, aroma and fruit prior to the alcoholic fermentation which extracts more pronounced tannins. Following the alcoholic fermentation, the wine is pressed off to 300 litre used French barrels where it matures for 10 months prior to bottling. The resulting wine is bursting with fruit, wonderful purity and that characteristic Langhorne Creek plush, earthy quality. Delicious.