News & other goode stuff
Welcome to the Wangolina blog. Here is where we will be highlighting news, events and all goode stuff that has been happening around our little patch on a very ad-hoc basis.
2021 Wangolina A-Series Mencía takes out trophy!
Wangolina are proud to announce that their 2021 A-Series Mencía has been awarded gold and the trophy for Best Alternative Variety at the 2021 Limestone Coast Wine Show. This is the first time that Mencía has been an entrant in the Limestone Coast Wine Show and the first trophy awarded to a Limestone Coast Mencía. A variety new, not only to the Limestone Coast, but to Australia, with the first examples of this variety being made in Australia a mere seven years ago, in 2014.
Mencía originally hails from the north western Spanish region of Bierzo. Traditionally it produces wines that are aromatic and fruity and can be used to make dry table reds as well as Rosé. Wangolina has chosen to make a dry red wine that is light and bright, a "joven" style. Released early in October as a spring wine with minimal oak influence, this allows the aromatics to burst with bright red fruits, think cranberry and goji berry with a dusting of cinnamon spice and fresh chinese dates. The lightness of the style allows this cheeky little number to be playful and lithe.\n\nAfter experimenting with 400 kilograms of Mencía in 2020, Anita our winemaker has refined her style and increased the quantity made. Making 3.3 tonnes of Mencía in 2021 felt like a gamble but one we are certain will pay off. Use of whole berries, hand plunging, and picking early has allowed her to showcase the delicacy and prettiness of the fruit sourced from the Old Mundulla Vineyard, in Mundulla-Limestone Coast. Planted in 2017 this is only the second crop for this fruit and with results like this the future looks as bright as the aromatics.
Other results from the Limestone Coast Wine Show include a silver medal for our 2020 A-Series Lagrein and bronze medals for our 2021 Sauvignon Blanc, 2021 Pinot Gris, 2020 Tempranillo and 2021 Grüner Veltliner
2021 Wangolina Limestone Coast Moscato wins rare gold!
Gold medals and Moscato don’t often go in the same sentence. In fact, the last gold medal to be awarded to a Moscato at a capital city wine show was at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards back in 2018, and it’s been even longer at some shows. At last week’s Royal Adelaide Wine Show, a 6-year drought on Moscato Gold Medals was ended by Wangolina's 2021 Moscato. The judges described it as a “…particularly bright, grapey example with a lovely balance of sugar and zippy acidity…” and they rewarded this cracking wine with a rare GOLD!
Wangolina makes their Moscato proudly. Selecting only the highest quality cooler-climate Muscat a PetitGrains (Frontignac) from the Limestone Coast, they allow the simplicity and brightness of the fruit charactersto speak for themselves. Aiming for a balance of acid, sweetness and spritz to give the drinker lightness on the palate and a truly refreshing feel to the wine, Winemaker and Owner Anita Goode, stops the fermentation early to maintain natural sweetness achieving a beautifully balanced wine.
This year’s GOLD medal comes off the back of a Top of Class Silver in the 2020 show, receiving feedback that the 2020 Moscato was an “excellent example of style”. It is encouraging to see that Wangolina has pushed through the barrier to attaining gold for Moscato. Hopefully, this is the start of a long line of success for this underrated style.
Ever since I first tasted the emerging, Italian red variety, LAGREIN, over a decade ago, I have had a soft spot for it. It is a delightful, deeply coloured, aromatic, richly flavoured wine, which has a tight, grippy finish due to the cold climate in Alto-Adige (in northeast Italy) where it hails from. Here in Australia, it generally receives more sunshine and therefore the grapes ripen more so that it produces a richer, rounder, less tannic wine than in its native Italy.
There are now nearly 50 producers in Australia making LAGREIN spread from the cool climate of Queensland’s Granite Belt through to the warmth of South Australia’s Riverland. While I haven’t had the opportunity to try them all, to date, I have liked every single Australian LAGREIN that I have tasted. The depth of flavour and degree of acidity varies according to the climate the grapes were grown in, but they have all been very drinkable and enjoyable wines – which is something that can’t be said about too many emerging varieties.
Today’s excellent LAGREIN which hails from the Limestone Coast wine region of South Australia is the, WANGOLINA 2019 LIMESTONE COAST LAGREIN. OMG! It is so deep, dark and dense in colour that it almost borders on being black. The attractive bouquet has lashings of red berry aromas along with a hint of tomato, dried herbs and a smidgen of spice. The palate is magnificent, big, well rounded, has good depth of divine flavours leading to a tight, moderately grippy, lingering finish. Although a smashing food wine now, especially with rich dishes, it will evolve as the tannins soften off over the next three to five years to become heavenly and totally awesome when served on its own.
So if you haven’t tried an Aussie LAGREIN yet, pull your finger out and try one ASAP, especially this WANGOLINA so that you can see what I have been ranting on about.
Cheers and remember always #chooseaustralianwine and drink #emergingvarieties whenever you can.
Read the full YGOW article here.
Cellar Door Sales
Wangolina is looking for friendly, enthusiastic people to join our small & efficient team in the positions of part time & casual Cellar Door Sales Attendant, in the Mt Benson wine region.
We are looking for applicants to be;
- over 18 years of age
- passionate about delivering exceptional customer service
- have a genuine interest in wine/hospitality
- an ambassador for the Wangolina brand/ Limestone Coast region
A sense of humour, multi-tasking, time management & the ability to work independently & part of a team is essential. Training will be provided.
Part Time Position – will consist of approximately two weekends per month & the occasional weekday. Administration skills, particularly with Xero preferred. Food preparation, hospitality & event experience is an advantage.
Casual Positions – predominately weekends set via monthly roster, public holidays & the occasional weekday. Hours will increase over the busy summer & easter holiday periods.
To discuss, submit your application or to receive a job description please contact;
Nharess van der Stelt – Wine Room & Sales Manager
For general enquiries phone 08 8768 6187.
Applications close 20th November, 2020
Check out Gourmet Traveller wine writer Daniel Honan's article on the Mt Benson & Robe wine regions, South Australia.
ON AN OVERCAST DAY, the wind blows hard over the denim blue waters of the Great Southern Ocean, rupturing ripples into white caps, agitating waves into crests of foam. This cool breeze billows beyond the primordial shoreline of pockmarked rocks, made mostly of weathered granite, and inland to where the region’s relatively diminutive patchwork of vines share space with the scraggly, straw-green coastal scrub.
The story goes that when an ex-chairman of Southcorp first visited the region to inspect some new vineyards that had been planted, he asked, “What the hell are we doing here?”
For this is harsh country – windswept and interesting, and not for the faint of heart. Trial vines were first planted here in 1978, over shallow, undulating soils of sand and loamy clays.
Such earth was formed from ancient dune systems spread out over prehistoric limestone reefs that run right throughout the aptly named Limestone Coast; the coast is comprised, north to south, of the wine regions Padthaway, Wrattonbully, Mount Benson, Robe, Coonawarra, and Mount Gambier.
Of these six, certainly Coonawarra is the most familiar.
Yet, it’s the lesser known – more coastally confined – Mount Benson and Robe that really ought to draw some of your attention for their wines.
Producing some of the state’s best wines has been the lifeblood of the Potts family for 170 years.
In 1850, British migrant Frank Potts, who had arrived in SA on the HMS Buffalo just 14 years earlier, established Bleasdale, the first winery and vineyard at Langhorne Creek.
More than 2500 votes were cast by our readers in the latest Messenger poll to find SA’s best cellar doors, with Bleasdale topping the list, followed by Rockford Wines, in Tanunda, and Skillogalee, in the Clare Valley.
Bleasdale general manager Leigh Warren credited the winery’s ongoing success to its proud history, which included the production of Frank Potts Cabernet Blend, Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon and Bremerview Shiraz. “Langhorne Creek … is often overshadowed by McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley, but we know that we continuously grow premium fruit which makes really good wine and I think people really like that,” Mr Warren said. “I think people also like the history that sits behind our brand with Frank Potts immigrating to Australia on the Buffalo in 1836, before building up this winery 14 years later after that. “So we got that deep, rich history, which I think sets us apart.”
Despite the winery’s longstanding popularity, Mr Warren said the business had faced a number of challenging months due to COVID-19. However, he said visitors were increasingly returning to the winery on weekends, as people sought out experiences not too far from Adelaide. “(Business) has been up and down … and we certainly had to be flexible, which I think a lot of businesses have been doing,” he said. “But since May, numbers have been pretty good as people are getting out to the region. “Sometimes, I think that there is this perception that Langhorne Creek is a long way away, but it’s really just an hour from the CBD. “With six or seven cellar doors in Langhorne Creek now, you can really make a day out of it.”
SA'S BEST WINERIES – AS VOTED BY YOU
The votes have been tallied and the results are in. SA’s top winery – as voted by you – is one with a proud history dating back 170 years.
South Australia’s best wineries revealed in the latest Messenger poll.
SA's top three
Bleasdale – 1640 Langhorne Creek Rd, Langhorne Creek
Rockford Wines – 131 Krondorf Rd, Tanunda
Skillogalee – Trevarrick Rd, Sevenhill
Bleasdale – 1640 Langhorne Creek Rd, Langhorne Creek
Bremerton – 14 Kent Town Rd, Langhorne Creek
Lake Breeze – 319 Step Rd, Langhorne Creek
Kimbolton – 29 Burleigh St, Langhorne Creek
Vineyard Road – 697 Langhorne Creek Rd, Belvidere
Coonawarra and South East
Wynns – 77 Memorial Drive, Coonawarra
Majella – 87 Lynn Rd, Coonawarra
Hollick Estates – Ravenswood Lane, Coonawarra
Balnaves of Coonawarra – 15517 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Patrick of Coonawarra – Corner Riddoch Highway and Ravenswood Lane, Coonawarra
Skillogalee – Trevarrick Rd, Sevenhill
Pikes – 233 Polish Hill Rd, Sevenhill
Paulett Wines – 752 Jolly Way, Polish Hill River
Taylors – Winery Rd, Auburn
Eldredge Vineyards – Spring Gully Rd, Clare
Rockford Wines – 131 Krondorf Rd, Tanunda
Seppeltsfield – 730 Seppeltsfield Rd, Seppeltsfield
Tscharke Wines – Seppeltsfield Rd, Marananga
St Hugo – 2141 Barossa Valley Way, Rowland Flat
Turkey Flat Vineyards – 67 Bethany Rd, Tanunda
Bird in Hand – Bird in Hand & Pfeiffer roads, Woodside
Pike & Joyce – 730 Mawson Rd, Lenswood
K1 – 159 Tynan Rd, Kuitpo
Barristers Block – 141 Onkaparinga Valley Rd, Woodside
Sidewood – 39B Sydney Rd, Nairne
Wirra Wirra – 255 Strout Rd, McLaren Vale
d’Arenberg – 35 Osborn Rd, McLaren Vale
Samuel’s Gorge – 193 Chaffey’s Rd, McLaren Vale
Vigna Bottin – 192 Main Rd, Willunga
Chalk Hill – 58 Field St, McLaren Vale
Banrock Station – Holmes Rd, Kingston on Murray
Bay of Shoals – 49 Cordes Rd, Kingscote; Dudley Wines - 1153 Cape Willoughby Road, Penneshaw (tie)
Wangolina – 8 Limestone Coast Rd, Wangolina
Barley Stacks Wines – 159 Lizard Park Drive, South Kilkerran
Wow it really has been a vintage of highs and lows. Things in the wine world especially in South Australia haven't been the same since December 20, 2019. With the bushfires that ravaged the Adelaide Hills wine region and the lower than expected yields across the state due to impacts from hail, wind, frost, storms and heat it is fair to say the humble wine grape has taken its share of battering this vintage.
For us at Wangolina we were protected from some of the worst conditions as outlined above and we are fortunate that we have been able to chip in and help out our winemaking mates in various ways. Whether it be helping to source them fruit from our vineyard or others, checking on grapes during the growing season or just to be an ear for them in supporting them through these difficult times. For me this has been one of the highs of the the vintage as I have had closer contact with many friends talking shop and feeling like I have helped contribute in some small way in their road to recovery whilst being completely distant.
With the yet to be known longlasting impact of COVID19 we started our vintage with the harvest of the Frontignac for Moscato. I am truly grateful that we managed to get most of our grapes off the vine prior to the lockdowns, otherwise things would have been absolutely more complex. The only fruit left sitting as I write this is the Montepulciano and Cabernet. These grapes we will likely harvest over the next few weeks all things being equal but due to lockdowns and an agreement on minimising risk to the production crew, I will not be supervising the crush of these wines. Our wines are made in the Bird in Hand winery so it has been bittersweet that for some of my white wines in production I may not get the chance to relook at them until blending. I am extremely grateful for the guidance, wisdom and ability of Kym Milne and Dylan Lee who will watch over my wine until I can return to the winery.
Pre lock-down I was lucky to be able to grab some samples of the wines we have made so far in 2020 and I am extremely happy with the quality and I can see some really lovely wine being produced. Over the past few years there always seems to be a standout variety (or two) for the vintage and this year I really love the way the Pinot Gris looks, which for me is a total surprise to as I usually gravitate towards the Sauvignon Blanc or Grüner Veltliner. Another standout for 2020 is the Tempranillo. It is so lifted and has such delicacy of fruit. But sadly the volume of the make this year is lower than I would like so when it is released its going to go in a hurry! All of the varieties made at Wangolina are looking fairly balanced and I will be excited to see them to bottle
It has been a hectic few weeks of little sleep and big decisions however it is now nice to be coming into a more stable time. We have seen a lot of change to how we operate Wangolina, with cellar door closed then re-opened on Friday's. Staff working from home, losing our casual staff and then the introduction of a complimentary weekly delivery service to towns in the Limestone Coast. We hope to get back to whatever normal is after it is safe to do so and we look forward to sharing and showing you the 2020 wines as they are released.
Nick Ryan, The Australian September 10th 2019
Of the myriad wonders lurking in a glass of wine, perhaps the most amazing is the way a wine can go rummaging through the more chaotic cupboards of memory.
The sensory stuff is well understood. Smell is the most nostalgic of our senses and a suggestion of a scent detected in a wine cab pull us through a portal to a time long since passed, when that aroma was imprinted on our olfactory memory.
But the way a wine can get musical in the mid is a far more mysterious thing. Certain wines press play on certain tracks when I taste them.
When drinking retro-styled chardonnay, those big, buttery wines with shoulder pads on them, the theme to Dynasty rings in my ears. AC/DC’s Back in Black is the soundtrack to many a bottle of Barossa Shiraz. Pinot Gris sounds like a cold wind racing down through an abandoned asylum. Its howl still not loud enough to drown out the ghostly screams that echo down its corridors.
And there’s a variety best known in alpine Italy but getting a foothold here that always drops a needle in the groove of ZZ Top’s most propulsive riff. It’s not really that hard to find the causal link between the grape variety Lagrein and the mighty Texan Trio’s classic, La Grange. It’s all too easy to substitute the name of the grape for the name of the titular Texas town immortalised by ZZ Top’s infectious boogie.
Lagrein. La Grange.
A haw, haw, haw.
You’re doing it right now.
And there’s something appropriate about a variety that, at its best, is alluringly perfumed, satin textured and just a little bit decadent, bringing to mind a classic song about a wildly popular bordello.
I have no idea if Anita Goode is a ZZ Top fan, but I do know she has produced a Lagrein that is absolutely swinging.
Goode is a winemaker whose tenacity and drive I’ve admired for some time. Her family has run Wangolina Station at Mount Benson in South Australia for nigh on a century, the cattle and sheep side of the property supplemented by wine when vineyards were planted in 1999, and Goode completed winemaking studies in 2001.
While the property, now entirely run by Goode since the retirement of her father John in 2015, still supports a significant commercial cattle business, wine has become increasingly important focus at Wangolina Station. And with good reason.
Goode has a beautifully instinctive winemaking touch and her wines show an attention to detail that’s all the more impressive when you realise they’re the product of some very skilled multi-tasking. She has a deep appreciation for what the cool, maritime Mount Benson region can do well, and a restless curiosity to see what else she can add to that list. Hers are wines well worth seeking out.
Wangolina 2018 Lagrein, Limestone Coast
Goode sources the Lagrein grapes for this wine from the Wirrega vineyard at Mundulla, a slightly warmer site inland from Wangolina Station and a little farther north. While still cool, that little extra warmth allows a variety such as Lagrein to develop its abundant flavours earlier in the ripening process, bringing richness and generosity to the wine at reasonably modest alcohol levels.
The other key factor in shaping a wine as supple and restrained as this, when so many Australian examples present as hard and angular, is a gentle hand during fermentation, working hard to ensure gentle extraction and resisting the temptation to drag every last drop of colour, flavour and tannin out of a grape often over endowed with all three.
The wine is decadently coloured and beautifully perfumed. Violets, mulberries, star anise, Dutch liquorice and dark roasted spices abound. It’s tightly coiled, sinewy and lithe on the palate. It has impressive fruit intensity and depth but not a drop of fat; it’s a wine that has arrived at a point of perfect ripeness without showing any sign of being forced or pushed. It’s as good an example of the variety as I’ve seen in this country, and if people can get their heads around it as impressively as Goode has, then we all might be getting down and dirty with Lagrein.
The 2019 vintage is progressing well here in Mount Benson. With all of our white grapes harvested between the last week of February and the second week in march signalling a long term normal timed vintage for the region. We are still in the midst of vintage in early April with growers beginning to harvest red grapes over the coming days. The season was well founded upon a wet winter with higher than average rainfall but with average temperatures. Budburst in the Mount Benson region was later than recent years with most varieties completing budburst 1-2 weeks later realigning our harvest timing to our more traditional vintage season. A heavy rainfall event in November occurred in the flowering season, impacting Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc with these varieties showing some hen and chicken. Temperatures during the summer season were also in line with our long term averages however a heat spike in late January with an associated record hot day of 41.8 deg C, assisted to bring the white harvest forward slightly. While the rest of the state battled this heat and lack of water the cool and more importantly consistent climatic conditions of Mt Benson again reinforces the importance of it as a premium wine producing region in a changing climate.
Good bright aromatics and vibrancy are once again abundant in whites which are showing some promise for the vintage with great natural acid retention and in some cases proving to be challenging. This (natural acid retention) has also translated to the red varieties with a lower need for adjustment giving great age ability to these wines. Flavour and phenolic ripeness in red varieties is appearing to preceed the sugar ripeness giving us a much desired lower alcohol vintage.
It has been a challenge for the vignerons this year to fit back into a more traditional vintage with wineries staffing themselves based on the more compressed vintages of recent years. The hustle bustle of these more compressed vintages has been the norm and with a more spread out laconic vintage winemakers and growers have found themselves in their vineyards sampling and assessing more often. It has been a wonderfully social vintage this year for the winemakers with more time to enjoy a beer or two with the neighbours.
Wangolina winemaker Anita Goode remembers the moment the lagrein bug bit in 2015. She was standing in Wirrega vineyard, not far from Bordertown, perusing tempranillo with vineyard manager Jeff Flint who offered to show her the lagrein vines nearby. One bite and she was hooked.“I was taken with the way they tasted,” Anita says. “They had thick skins, deep colour, good flavour and bright fruit character.
It was the kind of ‘Ding!’ moment where you see the potential from the fruit.” Interest peaked, she set about creating Wangolina’s inaugural 2016 Lagrein. It was a hit.
“We did a trial run through cellar door – just to see what the perception of it would be,” she says. The team was pleasantly surprised by its popularity. “It really took us by surprise. We ended up selling out a lot faster than expected.” It was a plush little number. Tasting notes weave an alluring tale of ripe black cherry, plum, blackcurrant jubes, liquorice, and fennel seed aromas. The palate boasts rich blood plums, boysenberries, mocha, fennel seed, black olive, and chewy tannins.
The sensory combination bagged the 2016 Lagrein a trophy at the 2017 Limestone Coast Wine Show. It was also named Chief of Judges Jane Faulkner’s Wine to Watch. “I was rapt that someone is making this Northern Italian variety,” Jane told The Naracoorte Herald reporters. “In the glass it has the most insane colour, so obviously you get a bit seduced by this. It’s a very cool wine and I love the fact that someone is going out there and having a crack at it.”
Sirromet Wines’ Mike Hayes (2017 Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology Winemaker of the Year) is also a fan.
“Having somebody with that sort of knowledge and passion say, ‘This is something you need to investigate harder’ always gives you a little boost of confidence that you’ve made the right choice,” Anita says. “He wouldn’t tell you something was good if it wasn’t.”
She’s right. Mike says it how it is. It was the public’s reaction, however, that really fuelled the fire. “It was really interesting to see how popular that wine was through cellar door – especially considering it is such a rare and unknown variety. It’s a little different; quite a dense, rich style of wine.” So what is lagrein?
The red variety hails from the far north east of Italy’s Trentino Alto-Adige region where most of the vineyards are planted approximately 550 meters above sea level. Down below, it’s all sand and coarse glacial gravel. The variety took its time to make its way Down Under.
The first known commercial plantings were by Cobaw Ridge in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges. In a Winetitles piece written by winemaker Alan Cooper, he describes his first sip of lagrein as a “Wow” moment. Based off that small batch wine tasting in 1992, he top grafted a few hundred vines using cuttings from pal Dr Peter May (then deputy principal of Melbourne’s Burnley Horticulture College). The adventurous Dr May writes at great length about his backyard experiments with lagrein. It’s worth a look if you’re into the science behind the alternative variety.
Slowly, it began to turn heads. Cobaw Ridge’s 2002 Lagrein scored 91 points in James Halliday in his 2005 Australian Wine Companion and since then, the variety has popped up across the nation. “A lot of lagrein is also grown in Langhorne Creek, the Riverland and Heatcote.” Anita says. “The Mundulla area is probably the coolest of those areas and it seems to feel quite at home there. It has really good tannins, beautiful colour and has this richness and intensity about the resulting wines that just feels like it belongs there.”
Anita remembers her first ever sip of the good stuff (Heartland’s Dolcetto Lagrein) many moons ago. The Langhorne Creek brand now has eleven vintages of the wine (and counting). It was Heartland’s Ben Glaetzer and his Dolcetto Lagrein that inspired Geoff Hardy to plant the variety at the Wirrega vineyard in 2005. It’s a special part of the world, located just outside of Mundulla on the Limestone Coast. The patch of land (once an inland sea) was first planted with vines in 1993 and now hosts a motley crew of international and eclectic emerging varieties. “I think Mundulla is one of the most underrated areas for grape growing in Australia,” Anita says. “It’s kind of like Langhorne Creek in that it’s not a really hot climate but it has a bit of warmth to it and has really good quality water available.” Warm, dry days and very cold nights help them ripen slowly and steadily. Great natural acid retention and soft tannin structures are perks.
Slowly, but steadily, its popularity is growing. During the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show 2018 (AAVWS), 10 wineries submitted lagrein. Among them were Bremerton Wines, Alejandro, Symphony Hill Wines (two entries), Next Crop Wines, SAMU, Hofer Family Wines, Cirami Estate, Vinteloper, and Serafino Wines. Gold went to SAMU and Next Crop Wines. The judges described it as a strong class. “Wines with brightness, powdery tannins and balanced acidity and well-handled phenolics stood out.”
Wangolina didn’t produce a lagrein in 2017 (the chilly conditions weren’t suited to it) which is why Anita is particularly excited about the release of her 2018 creation. The approach in the winery is to respect and enhance the variety’s natural characteristics. “We try and keep it fairly simple,” Anita says. “Mainly because it has quite strong tannin so we like to not work it too heavily. We keep pump overs light so we’re not over extracting anything. We don’t want to make it heavy and jammy.”
Anita doesn’t pick it too ripe. “We’re picking it on the lighter end of what people pick red wines at these days. This means it’s actually able to express some of its pretty characters and develop its own structure.”
Only 300 dozen were bottled as part of the A Series range and at $28 it’s a steal. With crisp autumn weather on the horizon, it goes particularly well with pork belly.