Angove Family Winemakers – one of South Australia’s oldest and most renowned wineries and winemaking families continues to impress the world, winning a haul of trophies at the 2012 International Wine Challenge in London for the 2006 Vineyard Select Clare Valley Riesling. It won: the Clare Valley Riesling trophy, the Australian Riesling trophy, the Australian White trophy and most impressive of all the International Riesling trophy for best riesling in the world.
How did it all start?
The story of the Angove Family Winemakers starts in 1886 when William Thomas Angove and his family arrived from Cornwall in south-west England (of Doc Martin fame today!) to start a new life. Being from neighbouring Devon myself I feel some affinity with this story as I also relocated to South Australia.
William Angove, a medical doctor by profession (like Doc Martin!), initially planted vines and made wine as a tonic for his patients. He planted vines in Tea Tree Gully, a few kilometres north-east of Adelaide. His son Thomas was a pioneer of winemaking in the Riverland, further north from the city, and the Renmark winery remains today. Urban sprawl saw the demise of the Tea Tree Gully vineyards in the 1970s. The family’s major vineyard holdings today are in McLaren Vale and Renmark, and impressive welcoming cellar doors are at both locations.
The flagship wine
The Angove Family Winemakers produce a wide range of wines, from shiraz to riesling and from grapes sourced from all over South Australia. Most recently released is the Angove flagship wine called The Medhyk, which in Cornish means ‘the doctor’, in a nod to the founder. First released in 2011, it is produced from old vine McLaren Vale shiraz and is at the higher quality end of the range.
The 2006 Vineyard Select Clare Valley Riesling
Being a lover of old rieslings I have shared this passion on my wine travels. Imagine my surprise and delight when a lovely English lady from the Renmark cellar door contacted me recently to say she had been inspired by my love for old rieslings and started trying more of them herself. She has found the exercise more than rewarding it seems and has sent me a bottle of the 2006 Vineyard Select Clare Valley Riesling to try!
Of course I am biased because they are such a great company and wonderful staff when you visit the cellar door. Plus I am biased because it is an aged riesling from one the best riesling producing areas in the world.
The climate and soils in the Clare Valley produce sensational and distinctive rieslings, with fresh fruit flavours cut through with crisp minerality. The company’s managing director and descendant of founder Dr Angove said: “Tony Ingle our chief winemaker was very particular about the parcels of riesling he sourced from the Clare Valley, looking for the unmistakable ‘mineral’ characters overlayed with complex citrus characters that proclaim Clare in every glass.”
The riesling comes from two vineyards in Clare Valley with very different characteristics which typify the region – “One has slate and loam soil and faces the north-east at a high elevation. This gives the mineral characteristics to the wine and tightness to the palate. The other vineyard has a terra rossa soil with limestone and is westerly facing, contributing the lovely aromatic aspects to the wine. The two parcels combine to provide an outstanding example of the Clare Valley style.”
So what is it like?
I shared this wine with a select group of tasters at Fassina in Somerton Park, south of Adelaide. Immediately striking is the colour – a deep luscious and brilliant golden yellow – the archetypal sunshine in a glass! The nose is generous with honeysuckle and a touch of sweet fruit with just a kiss of kerosene (that’s a good thing!) which is typical of aged rieslings.
The palate is dry, oily and full bodied, giving honeysuckle cut through with lime and a light toastiness. It is long and rounded and soft with a a pleasant acid balance running through it. The consensus was that it is a great example of Clare riesling, pleasingly varietal and a bargain – if there was any more to be had!
Tasting notes from the Angove website: “Brilliant crystal clear in colour with some green hints, this riesling is fresh and crisp. Abundant lime and lemon aromas leap from the glass, preceding a palate showing all the complexity of the riesling grape grown in perfect conditions. Juicy lime and lemon fruit flavours balance with a mineral backbone and fresh acidity. This refreshing wine finishes long and clean.”
Sadly this vintage has sold out 😦 The current vintage available from cellar door is 2008 🙂