Richard Angove’s bold Tamar Valley wine initiative is starting to bring fine results, both at home and in South Australia.
Richard Angove with Goaty Hill’s Markus Maislinger (L) and Tony Nieuwhof (R). Image supplied.
It’s been 12 years since Richard Angove worked his first vintage with Tasmanian Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The fifth-generation winemaker been out of the country for the previous eight harvests and had just celebrated his return to South Australian home turf by topping the 2017 Advanced Wine Assessment course conducted by the Australian Wine Research Institute.
“I just loved what I saw and tasted in Tassie back in 2008,” Angove recalls of his short stint as a fly-in vintage assistant at Tamar Ridge Wines.
The Kayena winery above the tidal estuary of the Tamar River provided a welcome alternative to the heat and the dust of Angove’s Riverland stamping grounds.
The celebrated South Australian wine family established Renmark’s first winery and vineyards back in 1910. That paved the way for today’s Riverland GI, Australia’s largest wine-producing region.
“I’m a sucker for really good Pinot and Chardonnay,” Angove says.
“I can remember thinking at the time, ‘Wow, I’d love to be able get my hands on some Tassie fruit of my own’.”
With the seeds sown for a new cool climate wine business, Angove finished his vintage assignment and headed to McLaren Vale for a fresh start at Angove Family Winemakers. A multitude of winemaking, sales and marketing roles brought new challenges and expanding horizons. The years soon rolled on by.
“Somewhere around 2014, I struck up a conversation with Jeremy Dineen at Josef Chromy Wines,” explains the bloke who has since become Joint Managing Director of the family company, alongside his sister Victoria.
“I told Jeremy I’d really like to find some good growers in the north of the state that would enable me to buy some fruit and establish my own Tasmanian wine brand. I knew there was strong industry demand down there for quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Tying up a small but reliable volume each year was going to present a real challenge.
“Jeremy efforts to help out finally paid off in 2018 when he introduced me to the guys at Goaty Hill, not far from Tamar Ridge. Everything else went from there.”
Within a matter of weeks, Angove hatched plans for bringing to fruition his bold Tamar Valley wine initiative. In mid-March, the outstanding 2017-2018 growing season delivered small but high-quality press loads of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to the busy contract winemaking operations of Josef Chromy Wines, outside Launceston.
Its close proximity to the project’s vineyard sources allowed fruit to be processed quickly, ensuring its precious aromas and flavours were carefully extracted and preserved for the long and carefully managed journey into wine.
Angove reprised those vintage arrangements in 2019 and 2020.
Cost-effective processing and pneumatic pressing at Josef Chromy sees sparkling wine grapes and table wine Chardonnay being chilled and transferred to transportable wine vats for a 90-minute highway journey to Devonport’s Spirit of Tasmania ferry terminal.
An efficient freight service across Bass Strait is then augmented by an additional 700km road haul to Renmark. Angove’s modern, temperature-controlled production facility then takes over the labour-intensive processes of barrel fermentation and oak maturation.
Angove says his Pinot Noir follows much the same route after its primary fermentation is completed under the watchful eyes of Dineen and his Relbia-based team.
“Having a Tamar Valley focus allows us to fit neatly into Jeremy’s planning and production scheduling,” Angove says.
“The supply chain out of the Tamar Valley into South Australia is really good nowadays because there are so many truckloads of Jansz juice that utilise road freight and ferry services during vintage. Our juice or new wine arrives in perfect condition, allowing us to take full control from there.”
Bottle-fermented sparkling and table wines derived from Angove’s small, quality-driven project in the Tamar Valley are marketed under the Lost Farm Tasmania brand.
Lost Farm has special significance for the Angove family.
It evokes memories of a period in South Australian history when many vineyards around Adelaide fell victim to urban encroachment and government housing policy.
“Back in the 1970s, the state government – through the South Australian Land Commission – compulsorily acquired about 100 acres of our original Angove family vineyard at Tea Tree Gully,” Angove explains.
“It happened before I was born. But I can clearly remember my grandfather always referring to it as ‘the farm.’ At the time, it was home to our best vineyards. The family lost ownership of their vines and they were eventually pulled out after the land was re-zoned from agricultural to residential use.
“While I was developing my Tasmanian brand, I decided I didn’t want it to have a huge connection to the Angove Family Winemakers brand. I thought that would be too confusing. Nevertheless, it was really good to be able to have use of the Lost Farm brand because it gave a nod to my grandfather and this little bit of family history.
“It’s a sad but true story. I like the authenticity it brings to the table.”
New Burge wine hits the road
Tasmania’s national and international reputation for world-class wine and viticulture received another boost back in July with the launch of a new South Australian wine brand called Corryton Burge. The Barossa Valley-based venture begins a new chapter in a wine family history dating all the way back to 1855.
Business owners Amelia and Trent Burge are members of the sixth generation of Burge family grape growers and winemakers who’ve made Tanunda their home base over the years. Their Corryton Burge label takes part of its name from the historic Corryton Park Homestead owned by Helen and Grant Burge, parents of the talented wine siblings.
The Burge elders established their own successful wine brand during the late 1980s. Grant Burge Wines was eventually sold to Accolade Wines in early 2015.
The couple’s Eden Valley homestead was built in 1845 and was planted with vines some six years later. Today, it represents the heart and soul of the Burge family’s rich South Australian history.
Trent Burge says the new brand markets its wines within two portfolio ranges – one named Kith, the other Kin. The latter honours Burge family connections and includes a 2019 premium Pinot Noir labelled Cornellian Bay Tasmania. Sourced from the Coal River Valley, between Cambridge and Richmond, the wine reflects Helen Burge’s childhood upbringing in Cornelian Bay, a riverside suburb on Hobart’s western shore.
“As a proud Tasmanian, Mum always wanted to create a Burge wine from her home state in order to honour her heritage and this other side of our family history,” Burge says.
“The fruit is purchased under contract. Its first fermentation is carried out at Frogmore Creek winery. We keep a close eye on it to ensure it’s within keeping of the style we’re keen to create.
“When the wine is ready for oak maturation at our Tanunda winery, we work with another company in the Barossa Valley to transport it there. We basically fill up a road tanker in order to keep costs down. It’s a similar concept to that used in Tasmania by a growing number of South Australian companies.”
Beautifully labelled and packaged, the wines have national distribution through Oatley Fine Wine Merchants.
“We’ve got a couple of other things in the pipeline with regards to Tasmanian products,” Burge adds tantalisingly.
Better watch this space.
Hobart’s Mark Smith wrote his first weekly wine column back in 1994. Now more than 1700 features and 25 years later, he continues to chart the successes of Tasmania’s small scale, cool climate wine industry with regular contributions to some of Australia’s leading industry publications.
PICK OF THE CROP
Mark gives you his honest opinions about the best wines available right now from Tasmania’s wine makers.
NV Craigow Sparkling Merlot $55
Barry and Cathy Edwards’ historic Craigow property lies on Richmond Road, outside Cambridge in the State’s south. Its attractive cellar door is within easy reach of Hobart and a bottle of this vibrant red fizz would make an ideal Father’s Day gift. Merlot is an unusual base for sparkling wine but it contributes surprising intensity to this full-bodied wine. Importantly, it’s ripe and round, and at the drier end of the flavour spectrum. Once poured, it retains its fine bead remarkably well. Partner it with aged beef or Scottsdale pork. Medium-term cellaring should add complexity. www.craigow.com.au
2019 Pipers Tasmania Sauvignon Blanc $29
While Pipers Tasmania wines are made in the state’s north-east, this smart savvy was sourced from Kreglinger’s Strathlynn property, north of Legana, on the west bank of the Tamar River. Now 12 months old, it’s bright, fresh and lively, and drinks particularly well when paired with pan-fried fish or Asian cuisine. Fruit characters reflect those normally associated with multiple harvests conducted over several weeks of vintage. A hint of blackcurrant telegraphs its true varietal makeup, while some citrus and attractive minerality lay claim to the possible inclusion of Tamar Valley Riesling. Drink and enjoy this spring and early summer. www.kreglingerwineestates.com
2018 Shy Susan Riesling $38
Shy Susan wines reflect the talents and passions of Victorian-based husband and wife team Glenn James and Jo Marsh. The label takes its name from an endangered Tasmanian native wildflower and is applied to small parcels of wine lovingly crafted from locally purchased fruit. This elegant dry white displays the attractive fragrance and intensity you’d expect from cool climate Riesling, in this case picked from chosen sites in the Coal River and Huon Valleys. White flower notes unfurl to reveal lime/mandarin flavours on a beautifully modulated palate of sheer delight. Gold medal, 2019 Tasmanian Wine Show. www.shysusanwines.com.au
2017 Brinktop Pinot Noir $32
Todd Goebel and Gill Christian have spent decades growing premium quality wine grapes in Tasmania’s warm, dry Coal River Valley. Their Brinktop label represents a recent change in vineyard site, to the rapidly expanding sub-region of Penna. This 2017 wine is a deeply flavoured Pinot that showcases generous black cherry and plum fruit, framed by firm French oak tannins. It’s a forceful mix that deserves extended cellaring, though lovers of rich, dry savoury reds will find plenty to enjoy alongside roast duck or rare venison. Decanting first opens a welcome door to complexity. www.brinktop.com.au
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Source: Tasmanian Times https://tasmaniantimes.com/2020/09/angove-lost-farm/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=angove-lost-farm