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 one 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. www.beautifulislewines.com  

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. www.resolutionvineyard.com.au.  

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. https://quietmutiny.wine/

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Stefano Lubiana 2016 Ruscello 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