In my recent tasting of nearly 100 ‘alternative’ red varieties, several grenaches delighted.
24-carat gold might not be so rare in jewellery, but on a bottle of Australian brandy, it’s a first. The stoppers and trims on two newly-released luxury St Agnes brandies make lavish use of gold. They are South Australian winemaker and distiller Angove’s tilt at the luxury spirits market, a market that has exploded in recent years.
Sauvignon blanc and blends of semillon and sauvignon blanc are generally fairly straightforward, unexciting wines that don’t tend to get the pulses of wine writers and other professionals racing. The standard is quite high and the wines are usually well-made and fruity, and if you sit down and taste dozens of them as I do, you will probably find it a monotonous task. They don’t vary too much. Hence, you’ll rarely see me raving about them. On the other hand, they are seldom expensive, seldom much above $25 or even $20, and they give good value for money. The cheaper ones are usually lighter, less-concentrated, presumably made from fairly high-yielding vines.
I can’t imagine many readers of this newsletter drink cask wine, but many of us would have in our younger days. Cask wine is – or was – many wine lovers’ introduction to wine. The wine cask is 50 years old this year, and Angove
Riverland winegrowers Bruce and Val Bassham are going the full monty. Montepulciano, that is. The montepulciano grape, whose home is the Abbruzzi region in central eastern Italy, has taken enthusiastically to the Riverland and the Basshams reckon it’s one of their best wines. They sell it for $24 under their Bassham Wines label. The 2012 is a fine wine of deep colour and good intensity of flavour, structured and seamless, with modest alcohol (13.5 per cent) and more savouriness than some of the ultra-fruity Riverland wines.
Did you know Angove’s was the first producer of bag-in-box wine? I spotted this original wine cask in the Renmark cellar door of Angove Family Winemakers (tastings) recently. The late Tom Angove, father of current MD John, was the man who invented it, in 1963.
Angove Cross Stitch Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale & Coonawarra 2012 $16-$22 The name of this new wine is all about blending. It’s a charming drink-now red, with cassis, red-berry and subtle spice fragrance. It’s bright and fresh, well balanced and understated. Lots of immediate
Angove Nine Vines Rose, South Australia 2013 $15 Angove’s rose is consistent in style and quality. It has a deep, bright purple-pink colour with intense, bright raspberry aromas. The palate is full and ample, not subtle, but loaded with fruit, a tinge of sweetness, some
Angove The Long Row Riesling, South Australia 2013 $10 This is a zesty, Germanic style of riesling with some residual sugar playing off tangy acidity, creating a mouth-watering and delicious wine. Fresh salad leaf and garden herb aromas, dressed with lemon juice. It’s off-dry, slightly
McLaren Vale is alive with a new surge of vitality. It may not be the newest or sexiest wine region in the country, but it has a new lease of life and is making superb wine.