Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lang Vineyards is back in the game


Photo: General manager Mike Lang

There is no doubt that Lang Vineyards, one of the original farm gate wineries in 1990, is back on its feet. Its iconic Farm Reserve Riesling was judged the best white wine at the 2013 All Canadian Wine Awards.

More recently, at the 2016 All Canadians, Lang won gold for its 2015 Viognier and 2015 Pinot Gris while the same Viognier and the 2014 Farm Reserve Riesling won gold at this year’s Northwest Wine Summit.

And you will find a long list of other awards on the winery website.

Why would I write that it has found its feet again? A brief reminder of the winery’s history.

The winery was founded by Günther and Kristina Lang, who had moved from Germany in 1981, buying a four-hectare (10-acre) property with a vineyard and an exceptional view. The winery had an enviable reputation when it was purchased in 2005 to anchor the Holman-Lang winery group. By the time Holman-Lang went into receivership five years later, the fine reputation had taken quite a hit.

Lang Vineyards was purchased in 2010 by a Chinese mining executive called Yong Wang. He has revived the brand and he put a Lang back into the winery by naming Mike Lang, Günther’s nephew, as the general manager.

Mike has had to deal with a parade of winemakers before the musical chairs stopped last year when reliable Robert Thielicke moved to Lang from JoieFarm. I was not surprised to find that the wines from the 2015 vintage are very well made.

I have lost track of who made the wines in 2014. Whoever it was also did well, especially with the Farm Reserve Riesling, always the most prestigious wine in the Lang portfolio.

Here are notes on the wines.

 Lang Vineyards Bravo White 2015 ($18). This is slightly off-dry blend of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Schönburger and Muscat. It begins with aromas mingling floral notes, spice and fruit, followed by spicy peach on the palate. The Muscat varieties here leave a spicy finish that persuades the palate this is a dry wine. A great summer wine. 90.

Lang Vineyards Viognier 2015 ($21). This wine begins with rich aromas of banana and ripe apricot. On the palate, the mouth-filling flavours are luscious, with notes of apricot and peach and a touch of hazelnut on the finish. This is a dry Viognier with personality! 91.

Lang Vineyards Pinot Gris 2015 ($19). This wine presents in the glass with a light golden glint. It is a richly textured wine in a style recalling ripe Alsace Pinot Gris, with aromas and flavours of ripe pear, ripe peach and ripe apple. The finish is dry and persistent. 90.

Lang Vineyards Farm Reserve Riesling 2014 ($18). The grapes for this flagship Riesling comes from 35-year-old vines. The complex aroma here is more properly described as marmalade rather than petrol because of the intense fruit. On the palate, the fruit flavours are bright and also concentrated, with notes of lemon and green apple backed up by a spine of minerals. 92.

Lang Vineyards Sparkling Pinot Noir/Meunier 2015 ($21). This strawberry-hued wine is celebratory with a full head of effervescence. It has aromas and flavours of cherry and strawberry and it has a crisp, refreshing finish. 89.

Lang Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2015 ($25). The aromas are dramatic and expressive: dried cherries, blackberries and plums with a touch of mocha. On the palate, there are flavours of black cherry and black currant. There is a pleasantly rustic earthiness on the finish. 90.

Lang Vineyards Maréchal Foch 2014 ($20). Almost black in colour, the wine begins with the aromas of the variety – a mix of dark plum, chocolate and rare steak. Full on the palate, the wine tastes of figs, plums and blueberries. 89.


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