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Metala Rivers of Wine

Metala Rivers of Wine

Sitting between the Angas and Bremer Rivers, atop an ancient natural floodplain on the shores of South Australia’s Lake Alexandrina, Langhorne Creek's fertile soils have attracted winemakers since the 19th century.

Langhorne Creek’s unique growing conditions – warm and dry ripening weather, coupled with the cooling influence of the lake – offer a near-perfect environment for the cultivation of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, two varietals successfully grown for decades by Metala Vineyard. Much of this success can be put down to the vineyard resources at this esteemed winery’s disposal. After all, its Shiraz vines are the oldest in Langhorne Creek, and its Cabernet is the oldest family-owned Cabernet vineyard in the world.

“Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are two of Langhorne Creek’s most famed varieties,” explains Wine Selectors co-Chair Adam Walls, “and Metala Vineyards produce some of the best examples of both varieties with a flavour intensity and length synonymous with the house style.” 

It leaves lovers of red wine spoilt for choice. “To pick a favourite borders on impossible, and perhaps my personal love of Cabernet Sauvignon is too hard to ignore, but for me this shows the quality of Metala’s wines and why Langhorne Creek Cabernet is worth paying attention to,” says Walls.




Metala made a big name for itself in 1962 when, due to the hard work of then-Stonyfell winemaker Bryan Dolan, it took out the highly coveted Jimmy Watson Trophy for its 1961 Metala Shiraz Cabernet. It subsequently became a household name, a staple in the cellars of all discerning Aussie wine consumers. Decades later, it’s still a favourite. 

“What I find interesting is over the past 60 years, although past winemakers have put their own stamp on the wines and styles changed over time, the thing that’s remained incredibly consistent with Metala has been the fruit quality, style, and balance of the wines,” says Metala’s chief winemaker, Jim Urlwin, ever mindful of the Metala legacy.

“My goal is to stay true to the traditional style of Metala but ensure we make wines for the current market. We need to be mindful of past Metala drinkers as well as new ones.”

Metala Wines 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon

Metala Wines 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Metala vineyard at Langhorne Creek.

The Metala vineyard at Langhorne Creek.



Such consideration is evident in Metala’s recent offerings. The 2021 Metala Shiraz Cabernet, for instance, is a vibrant, deep magenta, bright and rich, with sweet flavours of Cabernet-driven dark fruits and a touch of white pepper that is expected from this Langhorne Creek single vineyard. 

Classic varietal characters also present in the 2021 Metala Cabernet Sauvignon, which shows a deep dense colour, with a bright bouquet that leaps from the glass. The palate is a seamless integration of ripe black fruits and subtle oak, balanced with supple tannins and beautifully balanced acidity. 

Jim Urlwin recalls something Nigel Dolan, another former Stonyfell winemaker, once said to him: “the value, quality and heritage of the Metala wines is as deep as the famous alluvial soils they continue to be grown on,” he recounts.
“It’s humbling to look back at some of the great winemakers that have preceded here,” Urlwin says.

“They achieved many accolades and respect for their wines off this estate… Trends may evolve and change, but with a view and respect of the past, the consistency of this special vineyard will continue. And as I’m regularly reminded, the winemaking is easy – just don’t stuff it up!”

Rediscover the classic flavour and character of a true icon in Australian wine at metala.com.au

Published on
14 Mar 2023


Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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