Discovering Lange Estate with Winemaker Liam Carmody
Lange Estate have been have been cultivating and farming in rural Western Australia for five generations. The tradition continues in Frankland River with the Lange’s vineyard, established in 1997 and run by the Lange family.
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Lange Estate's Vineyard
The vineyard is situated in the picturesque grape growing region of Frankland River known for producing premium quality fruit - especially Shiraz and Riesling. The vineyard has a high elevation of close to 300m which is unique for Western Australian conditions and when combined with the red jarrah gravel loam soils it leads to wines of great intensity.
We sit down to chat with Lange Estate's winemaker, Liam Carmody who tells us about the Frankland River region and why it is so great at producing outstanding Riesling wines and more.
Q&A with Winemaker Liam Carmody
After studying Viticulture & Oenology at Curtin University, Liam has built vast experience in cellars around the world, including South Africa, France, California, New Zealand and Australia. Joining Forest Hill in 2008, Liam is a firm believer in the balance and fruit quality seen from dry grown vineyards, combined with a great passion for the subtleties of cooler climate winemaking.
What’s a wine you’ve produced that your most proud of and why?
That’s a hard one. I feel we have been refining what we are doing and making some great wines in the last few years that I am really proud of. It is a profession where you are always adapting and learning and then reflecting and thinking about your approach for the upcoming vintage. I am not sure I can single out just one wine at this stage. Hopefully I can answer that when I have retired.
If you had to describe your Riesling to people have never tried it before what would you say? What makes it unique?
I think we are a focused and passionate small winery team based in Denmark. I would like to think that passion really shows through in all the wines we produce. I really believe in fruit being grown well and sustainably and this should translate into pure and balanced expressions in the final wines. This is of the upmost importance when producing high quality Riesling and I think this is evident in all of the styles we make. Ultimately, I hope to make unadulterated wines that speak of time and place and most importantly are delicious drinking!
Can you describe the conditions in Frankland River in terms of producing Riesling?
Frankland is a consistently brilliant and distinctive region for producing Riesling. The combination of cold nights, warm daytime temperatures and the cooling effect of the afternoon sea breeze through the ripening period are key. This region produces beautiful Riesling which has generous volume with ripe lime flavours whilst retaining the fresh acid line to provide balance and length.
What do you like about your region and why? What are the people like?
It is an incredibly beautiful part of the world and still so pristine, expansive and rugged. I love the different styles that come out of such a large area, from Frankland River to the Porongurup’s. It’s a really unique and understated region building a wonderful reputation for producing great wines. There is also a fantastic and diverse mix of people down this way. It is a great community that share a common thread of appreciation and love for a special part of the world.
What are you goals for the Lange Estate brand in the future?
I would like to see the continued success and promotion of the Great Southern region in general. I think my goal for Lange Estate is to continually focus on making sustainable, high quality and pure wines throughout each vintage. Balanced expressions and drinkability across the range highlighting their unique site is my priority. Isolation is a challenge for all of us, but I believe with quality wine as the foundation we can get the Great Southern wine message out to the world.
How did you get into wine?
Finishing school, I moved to the south west and took a gap year working in the vineyards around Yallingup. I then went on to study viticulture & oenology, though it wasn’t until I started my working life, traveling to different regions in Australia and around the world and working with some great people that my passion for wine really developed.
What do you love about wine?
I maybe a little sadistic but I actually love the struggle of wine. There are so many challenges faced each season throughout the process and it is really very special when all the hard work, contemplation and team effort translates into something beautiful in the glass. I am very conscious of the behind the scenes toil when I am enjoying different wines. It is what makes it such a unique product.
What’s your favourite go-to wine for drinking?
That’s a tough question. My go-to would be Great Southern Riesling as I love the purity, persistence and drinkability of what we do down this way. Though I’m always keen to open something I haven’t tried both Old and New world. I do tend to get fixated on certain varieties for months at a time and that normally means incessantly trying different producers and styles until moving on to the next.
What would be a special one of yours that you would open when friends come over?
I think it would have to be a Forest Hill Block 1 Riesling from the original 1965 planted site. The historical significance of these old vines and the distinct powerful Riesling this vineyard produces in tiny quantities would make this my special choice to share.