Saturday, 17 February 2018

Hughes & Hughes 2017 Tasmania Pinot Noir

Brothers Jonny and Matthew Hughes are names to watch in the impressive arena of boutique Tasmanian wines. Their top wines are sold under the Mewstone label. This is smashingly good young pinot made from a blend of grapes from the D’Entrecasteaux Channel (where they are based at Flowerpot), the Coal River, Derwent and Huon valleys. There is a small amount of whole bunch in the blend and each batch was held on skins for 18-22 days before being pressed to oak. The wine is unfined, low sulphur and made in very small quantities - but worth chasing down. Superbly slurpable. $30.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Bream Creek 2017 Schönburger

This will almost certainly be the finest schönburger you've ever tasted. It might also be the first. This rare German grape variety has been pioneered in Australia by Tasmanian viticulturist Fred Peacock and after several years of experimentation by the Bream Creek winemakers this is very much in the groove. From a good vintage, this is probably best described as a cross, style-wise, between riesling and gewurztraminer. Think tropical fruit flavours, lychee and Turkish delight, with a long, clean finish and some residual sugar balanced by fresh acid. We paired this with a very spicy Thai chicken curry and it was a combination that shone. Only 200 cases are made, so it might pay to be quick. $29.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Holm Oak 2017 Pinot Gris

It was a complete toss-up whether I reviewed the 2017 Holm Oak Pinot Gris or the equally excellent riesling from the same vintage. Both are outstanding examples of cool-climate Tasmanian viticulture and offer excellent value as interesting sub-$30 aromatic whites. This family-owned Tamar Valley winery is one of the most reliable in the state, and the pinot gris is particularly food friendly; an amiable companion for fresh Tasmanian seafood, particularly scallops and octopus.There is an appealing blend of vivacious acidity and the oiliness often found in gris. The end result is a wine with appealing aromatics, fresh pear flavours, complexity from partial wild ferments and more length than Tally Sally. $28.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Moorilla 2016 Praxis Pinot Noir

You don't find too much quality Tasmanian pinot noir for $30 these days; prices have leapt over the $50 a bottle mark, even for new labels. That makes this young pinot made using fruit from the St Matthias vineyard in the north of the state a real bargain. It is on the lighter side of the spectrum with just 13.1% alcohol and offers blueberry and cherry notes on a summery palate. Very easy to drink this one, and it could even be chilled a tad over the warmer months. Best enjoyed young and fresh. $32.  

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.