Boutique Wine: Annvers
By Jim Clarke
a country where most wine companies are huge conglomerates with giant
marketing machines, Annvers is a boutique winery with only its quality
to speak for it. Established in 1998 by Wayne and Miriam Keoghan, their
production was entirely bought out for the first few years, so it was
only recently that they had any bottles to spare for the media or competitions.
Now that they’ve grown somewhat, expect to hear more about them
– their wines haven’t suffered from their expansion.
Not that Annvers has grown that big.
They still make only six different bottlings, amounting to about 7,000
cases per year. As the Euro climbs and more and more Americans look to
Australia for imported wine, people are starting to discover the producers
working in the shadows of big companies like Penfolds and Lindemans. The
larger companies offer reliable wines at a variety of price points, and
some consumers may be wary of trying a higher-priced wine from an unfamiliar
name. Annvers (and their peers) may not offer rock-bottom prices –
their wines retail around $30 – but their products are still great
value wines that give you more than you paid for.
Working on a smaller scale allows
Annvers to concentrate on matching their varietals with their vineyard
sites. Vineyards in the Adelaide Hills provide them with grapes for their
white wines: the Chardonnay is their newest wine, and a Semillon/Sauvignon
Blanc blend and a Rosé are both forthcoming from the same region.
While most people assume that all of Australia is on the hot side, this
area overlooking the city of Adelaide actually has a cool climate that
favors white wines and lighter reds.
Annvers sources grapes for their
Cabernet Sauvignon varietal bottling from Langhorne Creek, which lies
further south. There a dry climate and temperatures moderated by Lake
Alexandrina allow the grape to develop intensity without going overboard.
It’s one of the older winegrowing areas in the country, and the
earliest plantings there date from 1860.
makes one other single-source wine, a McLaren Vale Shiraz. This famous
region not far from Langhorne Creek has become recognized for big red
wines with the rich fruitiness that is the best-known public face of Australian
wine. In addition to these single-region, single-varietal wines, Annvers
also produces a Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon blend and a Reserve Shiraz that
uses grapes from three different regions in the state of South Australia.
Down Under has a tradition of making fortified, Port-style wines, and
Annvers has gathered together a number of older, fortified lots and blended
them carefully to produce their 22 Years Old Tawny Reserve, a rich dessert
wine that rounds out their portfolio.
The emphasis on matching varietal
to region is, for Annvers, the first step in making high-quality wine,
and everything else they do locks in to that concept. Their output has
expanded slowly since 1998, and there’s no rush to establish huge
name-recognition. This step-by-step approach is meant to ensure that each
first-time Annvers drinker becomes a return customer. It’s working:
their fan base is keeping pace with their production, so grab a case whenever
2003 Adelaide Hills Chardonnay
2002 Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon
2001 Langhorne Creek Cabernet
A full-bodied wine showing aromas of cassis, blackberry, and
boysenberry offset by touches of pencil lead and mint. The fruit flavors
are tightly focused on the palate with gentle, well-integrated oak and
2001 McLaren Vale Shiraz:
A big, round wine with layers of milk chocolate, boysenberry, coconut
and smoke on the nose. On the palate some coffee, vanilla, and black
pepper notes emerge as well. Soft tannins fade in a long finish offering
a great blend of chocolate and spicy flavors.
2001 Reserve Shiraz
22 Years Old Tawny Reserve
Recources and Link:
Annvers' U.S. importer is Vine Street
Imports, Philadelphia, PA