Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Stefano Lubiana 2016 Rusecllo Single Block Pinot Noir

This was my favourite, but only just, of three new-release single-block 2016 pinot noirs from Stefano Lubiana's biodynamic vineyards overlooking the River Derwent at Granton, north of Hobart. In addition to beautiful packaging, the trio of wines impressively represent the concept of terroir. Ruscello means small mountain stream in Italian and the block is near a little creek. The wine is very much on the feminine side of the pinot spectrum with lovely aromas and delightful style and softness.The others in the trio are Il Giardino "the garden", a little more overt with tighter acid structure, and La Rocchia "the rock", more powerful and complex. A deep and meaningful trio - but volume is limited and you'll need to move quickly to snare any. $75. www.slw.com.au

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Kate Hill 2016 Huon Valley Chardonnay

The Huon Valley is the southernmost municipality in Australia - next stop Antarctica. It is cold in winter, making it a marginal wine-making region but capable of producing stellar pinot noir and chardonnay given the right vintage. Kate Hill, like Terry Bennett from Home Hill, Jim Chatto (Chatto Wines (and Paul and Gilli Lipscombe (Sailor Seeks Horse), sees the Huon as a very special place and she recently planted her own vines just outside of Huonville. This has undergone part malo and some lees-stirring but is all about the quality fruit; think ripe stone fruits, hints of cashew and judicious oak. Pair this lean and lovely wine with roast pork or chicken. $36. www.katehillwines.com.au

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Holm Oak 2017 Pinot Noir

Looking for a pinot noir from Tasmania that is reliably good and offers excellent value for money? Husband and wife team Tim and Bec Duffy over-deliver once again with this estate-grown, -made and -bottled pinot noir from the family vineyard at Rowella in the Tamar Valley. Holm Oak was one of the first smaller Tasmanian wineries to gain a foothold in Sydney and Melbourne markets and has not missed a beat since, producing a tight range of impressive wines. This is in the zone between fruity and savoury with great textural appeal and a smooth, soft finish. Impressive. $35. www.holmoakvineyards.com.au.   

Monday, 14 May 2018

Altaness 2016 Far South Tasmania Pinot Noir

Mark down Altaness as a name to watch out for. Duncan Ferguson and Susana Fernandez were the couple behind the Cascabel range of alternative varieties in McLaren Vale before packing up and basing themselves in the far south of the Huon Valley in Tasmania; just outside the hamlet of Cygnet. They've planted a vineyard on 21 hectares of land and are currently sourcing fruit from the excellent Heriots Point Vineyard across the river at Castle Forbes Bay as well as another vineyard at nearby Franklin. This delicious wine underwent wild ferment, is unfiltered and spent 14 month in French oak before release. Just 2,000 bottles were made, so it is short supply but is distributed in Tasmania by Red & White. Ferguson and Fernandez say: "We consider the area to have exceptional possibilities to produce elegant wines and pretty styles." They are off to a terrific start. $45. https://altaness.com  

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Bream Creek 2016 Reserve Chardonnay

The past few vintages from Fred Peacock and his team at Bream Creek Vineyard have been excellent - the 7.5 hectare vineyard at Marion Bay was originally planted in 1974, making it one of the oldest commercial vineyards on the island. Peacock purchased it is 1990. The 2016 vintage was a stunner in Tasmania and this very-limited-release reflects that with high-quality fruit showing citrus and stone fruit flavours allied to spicy French Oak, some buttery/savoury notes and excellent length, all at just 12.9% alcohol. Pair with white meat dishes like stuffed pork loin, or a traditional roast chicken. Already stylish and sophisticated, this will benefit from short- to medium-term cellaring. 94/100. $42. www.breamcreekvineyard.com.au 

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Kate Hill 2017 Sauvignon Blanc

The talented Kate Hill, once of Orlando, has planted her own vines at Ranelagh in the Huon Valley, deep in the south of Tasmania, but while she waits for them to mature she sources some excellent fruit from growers. This is a prime example; a brisk, palate-pleasing sauvignon blanc made from grapes grown in the Coal River Valley. It is a million miles away from Marlborough savvy in style, with grapefruit/lime juice and stone fruit flavours to the fore alongside vibrant acid. Made in a fresh, lively style, this is an excellent choice for one of the last days of summer sunshine. $30. www.katehillwines.com.au 

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Hughes & Hughes 2017 Riesling

I have been working my way slowly through the Hughes & Hughes range, and also sharing some of the wines with members of my tasting groups. The responses have been universally positive with a couple of pinot noirs being major hits, along with this floral, citrusy and downright delicious riesling. The back story is a terrific one with brothers Jonny and Matthew Hughes, based at Flowerpot in the extreme south of Tasmania, making wines that are full of verve, texture and interest.This is a blend of fruit sourced from the Coal River and Derwent valleys. Only 2500 bottles were made, but this is well worth seeking out. $27. www.mewstonewines.com.au