Australia is home to the oldest Shiraz (and Syrah), Grenache and Cabernet vines in the world. Luckily, for the Aussies, phylloxera never made its way to their wine regions. Because of that, Australia now has some of the longest surviving vines in the world. Other countries like France and Argentina have long histories with wine, but the annoying pest known as Phylloxera decimated vineyards in the 1800's.
In 1838, German settlers arrived in Australia and began planting vineyards in the Barossa Valley. A man by the name of Christian Auricht and his family escaped religious persecution in Germany, and fled to the place where Langmeil winery now stands. Langmeil Winery is home to Freedom Vineyard, documented as the oldest Shiraz/Syrah vineyard. They also transplanted another block of 100+ year old vines known as Orphan Block. The beauty of old vines is they often produce exceptional wine grapes that result in higher quality wine. The root system has been able to dive down deep into the soil and water tables, providing complexity in the grapes. Some wineries even "root prune" or cut the roots at the surface in order to get the deeper roots to provide more of the rich nutrients up to the grapes.
Wine tasted from Freedom Vineyard: The 2008 Langmeil Freedom 1843 Shiraz is surprisingly affordable at $100 considering the pedigree of the vineyard. Power and finesse are on display in a silky smooth cashmere ride in a glass. Deep garnet in a color with purple hues, this isn't a wine you drink, it's a wine you experience. Swirl it around and lose yourself in the color. The intoxicating aromas of deep red raspberry and stewed plums combined with a little vanilla and baking spices are like walking into the kitchen while grandma is baking pie. You can't wait to taste it, and when it's gone you shed a little tear.