Friday, 25 March 2016

Freycinet Vineyard 2014 Pinot Noir

This is one of Tasmania's benchmark pinot noirs; always dark and intense, invariably cellar-worthy. Geoff and Susan Bull planted some outstanding vineyard sites on the East Coast of Tasmania back in 1980 and those now 35+-year-old vines are producing fabulous fruit that is vinified by their daughter Lindy and her husband Claudio Radenti, one of the understated treasures of the local industry. This is a simply stunning wine; a complex and intriguing melange of plum and berry fruit flavours and sous bois savoury notes. The palate is soft but challenging with quality French oak deftly handled. The complete package. $75.   

Nocton Vineyard 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

Nocton Vineyard is one of the largest in southern Tasmania, with 34 hectares of vines planted on Colebrook Road outside Richmond in the Coal River Valley, but until recently it has been one of the lowest profile. The vast majority of the wine produced has been exported to China, but under the new leadership of wine industry veteran Anthony Woollams, more is making its way onto the local market and there are some ambitious cellar door plans in the pipeline. This is a very well-made sauvignon blanc, unoaked and showing some restraint compared to its loud Kiwi cousins. It has a definite quaffability factor. $28.  

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Bream Creek 2012 Pinot Noir

Vintage 2012 was a superb one in Tasmania, producing wines in a style of which this superbly focused and intense pinot noir is emblematic. This is one of the best of a very fine bunch of wines, worthy of being scored at 96/000. If you enjoy the strength of Central Otago pinots then you'll love this, which has terrific power but is beautifully balanced with dark berry flavours dancing a taste tango with more savoury forest floor notes. This has already won gold medals at no fewer than five different major wine shows and while its controlled elegance is appealing now, this will develop nicely over the next few years. $34.

Loira Vines 2015 Shiraz

Wine doesn't get much more artisanal than this number from a tiny family-owned vineyard on the West Tamar. The production is so small that the vintage is hand-written on the label. And while you might not expect ultra-cool Tasmania to produce quality shiraz there are several little hotspots where producers like Glaetzer-Dixon and Moorilla are able to source impressive fruit. This is the first shiraz produced by Loira Vines - and it is a lovely wine; promoted as a "drink now" style with some bright cassis notes, smoky, spicy and savoury notes and a very quaffable finish. It is nicely poised at 13.5% alcohol. Certainly one for sommeliers who are looking for something different for their wine lists. $35. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Glaetzer-Dixon 2015 Avancé Pinot Noir

Nick Glaetzer comes from a famous family of Barossa vignerons, but he is very much at home in cool-climate Tasmania, where he makes wines of real personality from pinot noir, shiraz and riesling. This is the brand-new release of his "drink now" style of pinot, made from fruit sourced in the Upper Derwent Valley, north of Hobart. It is inviting and intriguing in its youth with what Glaetzer describes as "vibrant blue fruit" characters to the fore. Although it is young, it already has some complexity and would be a good each way bet; enjoy a couple of bottles now and consign a few more to the cellar. If you are visiting Hobart then pop into the new Glaetzer-Dixon urban winery and cellar door. $32.

Frogmore Creek 2014 Fumé Blanc

Not only is Frogmore Creek one of Tasmania's premier winery restaurants - one that is well worth a visit - it is also the producer of a range of excellent sustainably-produced wines crafted by talented Frenchman Alain Rousseau. This is a case in point with 100% Coal River Valley sauvignon blanc grapes matured in oak to produce a wine that could easily be mistaken for a bottle from the Loire Valley. Think citrus flavours alongside some creamy textural notes, and with bright fresh acidity as the underpinning factor. $28.