Saturday, 11 August 2018

Pipers Brook 2017 Pinot Noir

Pipers Brook is one of Tasmania's pioneering wineries; starting back in 1974 when the industry was in its infancy. After a rocky period, the very talented Jim Chatto has righted the good ship and quality from the north coast vineyards is once again looking good. This is an atypical Tasmanian pinot noir in a way, quite big and inky with dark berry and spice characters and very firm tannins. It is an estate-grown and -bottled wine of definition and precision with its serious structure and length earmarking it as one for the cellar, medium to long term. 

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Frogmore Creek 2016 Pinot Noir

Frogmore Creek has long been at the forefront of cool-climate viticulture in Tasmania, producing an impressive range of wines from its vineyards in the Coal River Valley. This is a sustainable-grown, hand-picked pinot noir that's delightful when young, but should also cellar well for a decade or so if that is your preference. I like the approach French winemaker Alain Rousseau takes to pinot noir, treading a path midway between some over the uber-plush styles and pale creatures. This is a smoky, silky, textural and full-bodied  number (think Hugh Hefner's pyjamas) with some ripe fruit but also astutely-judged balance. Charming. $40.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Mewstone 2017 Chardonnay

Mewstone produces terrific single-vineyard wines using fruit from a small vineyard at chilly Flowerpot in the far south of Tasmania. The Hughes brothers, who also make wines under the Hughes & Hughes label, are believers in minimal intervention and letting their fruit speak of its time and place. This wine is made in tiny quantities; whole-bunch pressed directly to barrel and naturally fermented. It spent nine months in 50% new oak before being released. I was lucky enough to try a glass at the Old Wharf restaurant at Hobart's Macq 01 hotel, where its vibrancy and textural interest paired impressively with with a whole baked snapper served with tarragon beurre blanc.  All the elements of a terrific chardonnay are here in a wine of beautiful balance. If you are lucky enough to find any, snap it up. $60.   

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Apogee 2018 Alto Pinot Gris

For over 40 years, Dr Andrew Pirie has been at the forefront of the Tasmanian wine industry. He created some of the state's key vineyards and wineries including Pipers Brook, Ninth Island and Pirie sparkling. He now concentrates his efforts on his own Apogee label, with wines made from his small vineyard at Lebrina. 30 minutes north of Launceston. While sparkling wine is a focus, he also makes small quantities of Alto, which falls stylistically midway between pinot grigio and pinot gris. It has layers of flavour of the palate, a la gris, but also some zingy acid, in the style of grigio. This is a single vineyard wine from a very good vintage, very pale in colour with enticing floral aromatics and a busy palate with poached pear, talcum powder and that zesty minerality.  Around 10% of the fruit was fermented in small oak and allowed to proceed through a malolactic fermentation to soften  and create complexity. Textural and delicious, and fine match for fish dishes or white meats like pork and chicken. $44.  

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Beautiful Isle 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet sauvignon is not always a success in Tasmania; some vineyards simply cannot deliver ripe enough fruit each year. An exception to that rule is Beautiful Isle, where the Marion's Vineyard vines on the banks of the Tamar River (a warm pocket in a cool zone) are some of the oldest in the state and produce wines full of juicy palate interest. This is on the bigger side of the spectrum for Tasmanian reds, with rambunctious black fruits and spice meeting serious tannin structure). This was tasted at the Mid-Winter Fest earlier in the month and is right in the zone now. Love the label. too, a throwback to old Tasmanian apple boxes. $26.  

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Resolution Vineyard 2017 Pinot Noir

Vineyards do not come much more southerly than Resolution Vineyard, at Middleton in the deep south of the d'Entrecasteux Channel in Tasmania. It is a one-hectare site planted with three clones of pinot noir, the one variety that will get ripe each year. Originally planted in 2003 by its founding owners, Alison and Charles Hewitt, it was purchased in early 2017 by Daniel and Caroline Lamont. This new-release is dark and inky, still a little taut, but it has all the right structure and will develop into a beautiful wine that can be cellared with confidence. Right now it needs a little time to breathe. Terrific value. Resolution Vineyard is named after Captain Cook's HMS Resolution, which anchored in Adventure Bay, Bruny Island, in 1777. $27.  

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Quiet Mutiny Charlotte's Elusion 2017 Riesling

This is one of two debut releases from Quiet Mutiny, the new label from experienced Tasmanian winemaker Greer Carland, whose family owns Laurel Bank Vineyard at Granton and who for many years crafted some excellent wines for clients at Winemaking Tasmania. She's now making tiny quantities under her own label - there are probably less than 50 cases of this delightfully different Derwent Valley riesling available. Carland pushed out the winemaking boat a little here in making a statement; and her funky take on riesling (25% wild ferment, 25% skin contact) is a little wild but ultimately very satisfying. Think layers of flavours and complexity allied to a dry linear finish with lots of florals and hints of tangerine blossom. Deliciously different and very food friendly. $36.