Saturday, 17 March 2018

IQ Wines 2017 Gewürztraminer

This lovely wine, light and well balanced, was judged the best white at the Bream Creek Show yesterday - and it is one of better Australian gewurzs I've tried; varietal but restrained. The nose alone reveals it as gewurz with its musky, Turkish Delight notes, and those characters follow through to the palate with fresh lychee notes joining in the palate party. Inverquharity, called IQ for convenience, is a 10-year-old,1.2 hectare vineyard, located just out of Richmond in the Coal River Valley. The vineyard is predominantly planted with pinot noir with a few rows of gewürztraminer. The wines are made by Alain Rousseau at Frogmore Creek. You'll need to be quick for this one, as its made in tiny quantities. $30.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Holyman 2016 Tasmania Pinot Noir

Joe Holyman is one of the great characters of the Tasmanian wine industry - a former Sheffield Shield cricketer and party boy from way back when. Everyone who is anyone in the wine industry knows Joe. But Holyman's irreverent attitude and love of a beer should not detract from from the seriousness with which he approaches his winemaking - and has done for the past two decades. The wines under his two labels, Holyman and Stoney Rise, are impeccably crafted, the first using estate-grown fruit from his western Tamar vineyard. There's a lot of quality here; plenty of flavour and impeccable balance. This vintage saw 55% whole bunches during ferment and 30% new French oak barrels for maturation. Power meets poise; structure meets seduction. Cellar worthy - certainly. You'd almost swear it was made by some serious old duffer wearing a tweed jacket. $55.

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.