Saturday, 13 January 2018

Sinapius 2017 Esmé Rouge

Think the remote countryside of Beaujolais; the rural aromas and rustic flavours. It seems bizarre that wine that's estate grown in Pipers River, northern Tasmania, should emerge so beguilingly French but that's what Vaughn Dell and Linda Morice have achieved with fruit from their close-planted gamay vineyard. Handpicking, whole-bunch and full cluster carbonic maceration play the key roles in this funky young wine, matured in old barriques for seven months and then and bottled without fining and filtration with minimal sulphur. Think bright red berry fruit notes, wild herbs and a palate that is as soft as Donald Trump's cranium. You could chill this for a few minutes, or simply sip it for summer enjoyment. Not your standard red - but well worth seeking out for its length and brightness. $38. 

Monday, 8 January 2018

Goaty Hill 2017 Riesling

It's all change at Tamar Valley boutique producer Goaty Hill - with new labels for the 2017 and subsequent vintages. I've long been a fan of the fresh, accessible Goaty Hill style and the new-release riesling, pinot gris and rosé wines all live up to that reputation. The riesling has been one of Tasmania's very best over the past few vintages but this sees the typical racy citrus notes joined by some textural character that no doubt reflects the estate vineyard. This has lovely balance, palate interest and a high refreshment quota. $30. 

Friday, 29 December 2017

Spring Vale 2017 Shiraz Rosé

It's definitely rosé season down south. I enjoyed a glass (or two) of this under the trees at the Taste of Tasmania earlier this week and it was downright delicious. Shiraz vines were planted at Spring Vale, on Tasmania's east coast, in 2014. The 2017 vintage produced a healthy crop of fruit which was fermented close to bone dry. This is vibrantly coloured, floral and red-fruit dominated on the palate with just a hint of spice. This totally refreshing number demands to be served well-chilled with cricket on the TV and some Jason Isbell up loud on the sound system. Add a bad boy if your mood moves you. $30.  

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Stefano Lubiana 2010 Brut Rosé

I may be a little late to the party reviewing this outstanding brut rosé bubbly from Stefano Lubiana in the Derwent Valley north of Hobart, but if you can find a bottle or two, made from 100% pinot noir then you will be well rewarded. The fruit here is biodynamically grown and the wines made with minimal intervention, including minimal sulphur. This release has spent four years on lees and couple of years in bottle, producing a lovely sparkling wine that has strawberry and savoury notes living in peaceful co-existence. "Seamless and delicious," was my bubbly-loving wife's verdict. This would be a delight enjoyed pre-Christmas dinner with smoked salmon on blinis with fresh cream. 

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Stargazer 2017 Rada

Sam Connew is a force of nature. A qualified lawyer in her native New Zealand and an accomplished marathon runner, she has been chief winemaker at big guns like Wirra Wirra and Tower Estate, as well as being chief judge at the Royal Sydney Show. She is now crafting an excellent range of boutique wines from her vineyard base in the Coal River Valley. The latest wine to join the Stargazer line-up, bring the collection up to five, is a co-fermented blend of pinot meunier and pinot noir from the 2017 vintage. Fresh and juicy red berry flavours ally with savoury/spice notes from the meunier to produce a red that's perfect for summer sipping - and can even be chilled for a few minutes on warmer days. The fruit is a blend of Pipers River and the Coal River Valley. This is a style I'd like to see a lot more of.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Bellebonne 2015 Vintage Rosé

Natalie Fryar was the driving force behind the Jansz sparkling wines for several years but after leaving in 2014 has finally launched the first wine under her own Bellebonne label - and its a cracker. Known as the Fizzician (well I just made that up, actually), Fryar is a whiz with bubbles and Bellebonne's first release, a stunning vintage rosé made from 100% Tasmanian pinot noir (from Pipers River), will almost certainly sell out (less than 1500 bottles were made)). A Vintage Cuvée and Blanc de Blancs are also in the pipeline. This is a very pretty wine with delicious fruit, but is also powerful and elegant with plenty of potential longevity. It's been aged in 100% old oak and undergone some lees work for complexity. The name Bellebonne makes "beautiful and good" and the wine is labelled "Made by Tasmania" as a nod to the Apple Isle's unique terroir. Outstanding. I give it 96/100. $65.   

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Tasmanian Organic Wines 2016 Bye's Lifffey Valley Pinot Noir

Ian and Caryl Cairns, among only a handful of organic wine producers in Tasmania, make tiny quantities of pinot noir each year from their remote vineyard at 300 metres in the eastern foothills of the Great Western Tiers, a collection of mountain bluffs that form the northern edge of the Central Highlands plateau. With warm sunny days and very cool nights, the vineyard has the diurnal variation that sees pinot noir thrive. The property has been farmed using organic and biodynamic methods since 1991 and the wines are made with minimal sulphur dioxide. The Cairns family has no website, however, and does minimal promotion, so the wines are little known despite a history of excellence. Inky and intense, this has dark fruit notes with wild mushroom and deli nuances and finishes long, fresh and clean. $35.