Angas and Bremer
From its generous landscape to its gorgeous wines and dedicated locals, Langhorne Creek is Australia's best kept wine secret.
When you talk to winemakers in South Australia's Langhorne Creek region, like Peter Pollard of Angas & Bremer, they'll often speak of their gratitude to the Lake Doctor. While it specialises in reducing temperatures, this isn't an actual physician, but the name locals give to the breeze coming off Lake Alexandrina.
A 600 square kilometre body of water at the end of the Murray Darling River system, Alexandrina is three times the size of Sydney Harbour. The breeze, Peter explains, "carries its cooling effect directly from the Antarctic and Southern Ocean - mitigating winter frost and moderating summer heat. This helps the vines during the growing season to produce evenly ripened fruit."
Lake Alexandrina is just one of the reasons Langhorne Creek is such a special place to grow vines. One of the others is found in the Angas & Bremer name. It's derived, Peter describes, "from the two rivers revered as the heart and soul of our region."
Together the rivers form a natural floodplain that allows the vineyards to commence each growing season with a root zone full of water. Collecting the runoff from the hills east of Adelaide, the vineyards' naturally occurring irrigation system contributes to the truly unique terroir of Langhorne Creek.
IN THE GLASS
This distinct landscape and climate helps to create dream winemaking conditions for Peter, with Angas & Bremer praised for the consistent quality of their wines, vintage to vintage. This is particularly true for iconic varieties like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, which Peter explains, "Display vitality, vibrancy and varietal character that differs from some of the better-known examples from the Barossa Valley and Coonawarra."
In fact, Cabernet is Langhorne Creek's hero red, which he describes as, "An approachable wine that is generous and inviting to the senses. These wines tend to be medium to full-bodied, fruit driven in style with lifted aromatics, integrated tannins and superb length."
Another variety turning heads in the region is Malbec. While it might not be as well recognised as Shiraz and Cabernet, Peter says, "The styles produced from Langhorne Creek are amazing." It's a variety common in blends, but as he points out, "Those made as a standalone varietal are great drinks with many highly rewarded wines made in the district. The wines are full-bodied and fruit driven in style with a tannin background designed for ageing."
BEHIND THE WINES
Of course, you can have the best grape growing conditions in the world, but they're no good without the dedicated input of growers and winemakers.
As Peter says, producing exceptional wines, "Begins with the strong relationships we have formed with local growers, who understand that quality wine starts in the vineyard."
He describes one of his favourite moments as, "Being in the vineyard just prior to harvest each season, tasting the fruit at its optimum flavour ripeness. This is the culmination of a season's work for our growers and is always exciting. I am always reflective at this point as I know how much effort went into growing that fruit, which I am now entrusted with to turn into the best wine possible."
Peter certainly has the talent and experience to fulfil that promise and he clearly loves his craft. "Winemaking is the chance to be creative and expressive," he explains. "It is a passion and ambition to challenge oneself to better what was made in previous years and to think outside the square."
When it comes down to it, though, Peter sees himself as one cog in the regional wheel. "Langhorne Creek is a community-focussed region," he says. "And it is the people who truly make this part of the world a special place to apply our craft."