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Australian Boutique Wine: Annvers
By Jim Clarke

In 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.

Annvers 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 you can.

Current Releases:

2003 Adelaide Hills Chardonnay

2002 Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon

2001 Langhorne Creek Cabernet Sauvignon:
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 firm tannins.

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 Wines Website

Annvers' U.S. importer is Vine Street Imports, Philadelphia, PA

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 Published: November 2004