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Anvers Wines – committed to quality

At a time in the industry when many wineries are looking to cut costs, others – such as McLaren Vale’s Anvers Wines – are looking to raise the quality bar even higher.

Owners Myriam and Wayne Keoghan are committed to using only the best grapes and oak, releasing their wines at their peak and investing in unique packaging to set them apart.

An important part of their philosophy is to find synergies between places and varieties, such as Cabernet and Langhorne Creek, Shiraz and McLaren Vale, Chardonnay and Adelaide Hills. This, coupled with low yields, has resulted in wines that show great depth and complexity.

Anvers winemaker, Duane Coates, believes in hand-making his wines. The hands-on winemaking process involves small fruit batches and traditional, open concrete fermenters for the reds, and modern, state of the art facilities for the whites.

“We leave the reds on skins for up to 20 days which is unusual – the norm these days is five to seven days at most wineries. The extra time on skins results in more complexity, but we’re also very careful not to over-extract wines,” Duane said.

“We are very particular about having balanced wines, as well as looking for finesse in tannins. We are here to produce wines that truly reflect our vineyards and suit our philosophies – our primary focus is not to win wine shows.”

Wayne said that in tough times especially, it was important to remain committed to quality. “We spare no expense with oak or the fruit we grow and buy. Our new label and packaging reflect our commitment to developing a quality product. Why bother making a wine that is less than excellent?” he said.

Anvers is passionate about its wines – The Chardonnay, retailing at $20.00, is made using premium fruit from two Adelaide Hills vineyards. The selection of eight different French oak types, use of wild yeast and 10 months spent on yeast lees has provided the wine with soft, creamy texture and layers of subtle complexity.

The Warrior, formerly the Reserve Shiraz, is Wayne and Myriam’s pride and joy and priced at $45.00 this is Anvers’ flagship wine. The Warrior uses the best parcels of Shiraz selected from each vintage. These wines were matured for 21 months in oak, at which point the best balance of oak, fruit, tannin and structure was achieved. From these Reserve parcels a further selection process is made to assemble the components into a final wine that provides a combination of flavour intensity, structure and grace.

Brabo, a Shiraz Cabernet blend, has been introduced this year and represents Anvers entry level red, priced at $9.00. “This wine is softer and more approachable when it’s young. It has light oak treatment, but other than that the winemaking techniques are the same as for our premium reds so it’s excellent value for money,” Duane said.

Names such as Anvers, Warrior and Brabo refer to the city of Antwerp in Belgium, which was Myriam’s birthplace. According to legend, Antwerp was terrorised by ‘a terrible giant’ called Antigoon, until a Roman warrior named Brabo fought him to his death, cutting off his hand and throwing it into the Scheldt River.

The Anvers Wines story began in 1998 when the company produced 220 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon. Now the winery produces 7,000 cases and 10 different wines, including a Vintage Port and a 22-year-old Tawny Port.

Winemaker Duane Coates has four European vintages behind him and holds a Masters of Winemaking and an MBA. He has been with Anvers since 2002. “My time in Europe taught me a great deal about winemaking – it’s not just about fruit and oak, it’s also about structure, tannins, finesse, acidity and most importantly, balance,” Duane said.

Anvers has also recently opened a cellar door at the gateway to McLaren Vale. The cellar door is set up in the renovated historic Aldersey Farm and is open daily from 10am to 5pm for tastings and cheese plates.

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WID 2017