Angove finds its groove

The Angove family (L-R) John, Richard & Victoria (Photo: Angove Family Wines)

Angove Family Winemakers has reinvented itself in recent years: its winemaking has gradually switched from a Riverland to a McLaren Vale base.

The quality of the wines has also risen steadily, thanks in part to the winemaking team headed by Tony Ingle.

Top of the totem is The Medhyk Old Vine Shiraz (AUD $65-$70), which is named in memory of the first Angove to make wine in South Australia. He was a medico.

The current vintage, 2014, won a gold medal at the recent Decanter World Wine Awards and earned a solid 96 from me in a recent shiraz tasting. It is decadently rich and typical of old-vine South Aussie shiraz. To my palate, the ripeness level is spot-on and the oak treatment nicely balanced, all contributing to it being the best Medhyk yet.

As Tony Ingle says, it’s not a single-vineyard wine, but comes from three vineyards in diverse parts of the McLaren Vale region. One component comes from the sandy soils of high-altitude Blewitt Springs, which he says contributes aromatics. The second component is from the rich, black soils of low-lying, coastal Willunga, which contributes richness. Finally, the Paxton Jones Block in central McLaren Vale, which contributes backbone. A variety of different winemaking treatments adds to the wine’s complexity.

For a less-expensive glimpse of what Angove is doing with the generosity of McLaren Vale shiraz, you can have the 2015 Warboys Vineyard (AUD $40-$45), or the 2015 Family Crest (AUD $20-$22), both excellent wines in their stations.

The Medhyk is named in recognition of the founder, Dr William Thomas Angove, who arrived in South Australia in 1886. The original winery and vineyards were at Tea Tree Gully, outside Adelaide, but as Adelaide grew the land was compulsorily resumed for housing and is now a suburb of the same name. The family had by then already moved its focus to the Riverland, where they set up their winery and HQ in Renmark. The next phase saw the Angove name being synonymous with inexpensive table and fortified wines and excellent brandies.

With the purchase of vineyards and land in McLaren Vale in recent years, the wheel has not so much turned full-circle but – at least in quality winemaking terms – it’s back in the groove.

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