Like all of our wines, there is a back story to ‘Angelo’. The wine is named after Craig’s great mate, and our concreter to the stars, Angelo Bertin. After Angelo and his team did such an outstanding job on our winery and cellar door construction, we thought it only fitting to name a wine after him made from an Italian grape variety!
Based on a gut feeling and my knowledge of Aglianico from Basilicata and Campania in Southern Italy, we decided this variety would work equally well in the Barossa Valley. We approached Andy, John and Barb Kalleske who planted some Aglianico for us in some outstanding dirt in Koonunga circa 2009. Recently Dave Brookes from The Adelaide Review asked Craig about our Aglianico and its suitability to our climate. “It feels like it belongs here; you see other varieties that feel forced into a part of the landscape where they don’t belong. I don’t find that with Agliancio. It feels both appropriate for our climate and the site where it is grown”.
With the grapes ready to harvest for the first time, Iz and I decided to keep the pressing wine separate from this first 2014 vintage (six years old by that time) and use the free run for the ’14 Mates. I have to say, going by the success of the wine in the first weeks of Izway cellar door and comments from some of our most respected peers and purchasers, we could be onto something.
We have had great early success with our cellar door. We’ve met some brilliant people who have either loved Izway wines already or have enjoyed being introduced for the first time. Angelo has found plenty of admirers among them all. Whilst it is a pretty hard name to pronounce (‘al-yah-nee-co’ for the uninitiated), the style and taste of the wine seems easy to appreciate.
Bottled after 12 months in seasoned French oak, the wine is unashamedly Barossan – but it is in the mid palate and finish where I can see a little Italian edge. Still quite primary on the nose with spice, red fruits and leather, the palate has lovely dark cherry and plum, and finishes long with really clean acidity, lovely drying tannins and a savoury lick. Here is what Dave Brookes had to say about Angelo in his recent wine review “It’s fine and focussed, still with plenty of crunchy, vibrant dark and blue-fruit laden with licorice and spice-cinnamon, clove, anise with hints of earth. There is plenty of depth here, yet the wine retains vibrancy and an energetic line along with a gentle tug of abundant, fine-grained tannins for structure.”
We did not set out to match or copy the style of the Aglianico wines of Southern Italy; they are their own unique and lovely wines. However, we did still want the wine to have an Italian feel to it and to actually look like an Aglianico. I think we have succeeded. Like most of the Southern Italian red wines I have consumed over the years and without a hint of cliché intended here, it is a lovely food wine with great scope for the future.