Australian fine wine classification is published

Langton’s Classification, the quinquennial (occurring every five years) guide to Australia’s best performing and most prized wines, has been published.

The classification, which dates back to 1990 and is now in its fifth edition, is designed to be a market barometer, measuring market presence, consistency, volume of demand and price realisations.

Of the thousands of wines considered by Langton’s 2010 list, 123 made the final cut, an increase from 101 in 2005.

Wines are classed by four categories: Exceptional, highly sought after prized wines; Outstanding, quality wines with a strong market following; Excellent, high performers of exquisite quality with solid volume; and Distinguished, fine wine market staples or emerging classics.

Andrew Caillard, master of wine at Langton’s said: “The development of the classification mirrors the growing worldwide interest in fine Australian wine.

“There is a clear need to focus the market by creating and regularly updating a fine wine ‘form guide’. It is a simple, straightforward guide for anyone interested in drinking or investing in the best Australian wine.”

The guide recognises wines from all of Australia’s wine regions: Margaret River, The Barossa, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Yarra Valley and Hunter Valley, with an emphasis on single vineyard vintages with strong regional identities.

Red wines are prevalent in the classification, for reasons of cellaring suitability, but white wines have recovered ground in the latest edition.

Treasury Wine Estates described the emergence of its white wine Leo Buring Leonay Riesling – selected in the Excellent category - as ‘a particular highlight’ of its 18-strong haul.

Chris Hatcher, Treasury Wine Estates chief winemaker, said: “To have a successful showing is a wonderful result. The classification only comes out every five years and winemakers all over Australia want to see what wines have made it, what wines have moved forwards, backwards or for some – those that have fallen off.”

Langton’s - also a fine wine auction house - has published the classification since 1990 using its own market data. The classification was initially assembled to create interest and build demand in Australia’s fledgling secondary wine market.