Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Nocton Estate 2019 Merlot


I don't find that many Australian merlots that I have the desire to recommend; they can be quite bland. Even fewer from Tasmania, where the cool climate can make getting the grape variety ripe. This wine from the Coal River Valley breaks the rules, however, by delivering plenty of soft, smooth palate pleasure. It also has the advantage of being cheaper than many Tasmanian pinot noirs. Fruity and dry, this is a good match for most red meat dishes, or those containing mushrooms. Distributed by Red & White. $

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Frogmore Creek 2020 Single Block Series Chenin Block


How delicious is this? Like biting into a chilled Granny Smith apple - all crunchy and juicy and refreshing. This is one of a new series of Coal River Valley wines from Frogmore Creek winemaker Alain Rousseau, who has doubtless called on his time at Chateau de Cleray to produce a wine that has much in common with some of the better dry chenins of the Loire Valley (think Sancerre and Pouilly Fuissé). Dry and textural with apple and white peach notes, this gets 94 points from me, but is, unfortunately, in short supply. Worth begging, stealing or borrowing a bottle to pair with Tasmanian seafood. $45.

Monday, 5 April 2021

Henskens Rankin 2011 Vintage Brut


The Henskens Rankin brand was founded by Frieda Henskens and David Rankin in 2010 to create distinctively Tasmanian styles of sparkling wine - and only sparkling wine. The wines tend to be complex and serious, but this chardonnay-dominated blend was also a hit with my fun-loving tasting group. A multi-regional blend using fruit from the Coal River Valley, Tasman Peninsula, north-east Tasmania and Pipers River), this has spent six years on lees and three in bottle but remains remarkably fresh, pale and minerally, with cashew nut hints. Floral and zingy, this is a serious contender in the quality stakes. $90.

Friday, 26 March 2021

Craigie Knowe 2020 Riesling


Tasmania is probably best known for its stellar sparkling wines, along with its pinot noirs and chardonnays. That said, many of the island's wine producers are dab hands with aromatic white varieties, as shown here by Craigie Knowe, an east coast producer at Cranbrook with a vineyard that was planted over 40 years ago. Traditional citrus flavours are to the fore, with a hint more complexity and creaminess than is found in Clare rieslings. There is plenty of length and depth of flavour here. A new release - but in short supply and will sell out rapidly. $32.  

Friday, 19 March 2021

Moores Hill 2020 Pinot Gris


The 2019 Moores Hill Pinot Gris was a phenomenon - and sold out rapidly. Its 2020 successor is a little different stylistically - a very different vintage - but you'll still have to move quickly if you want to snap some up. From Tasmania's first solar-powered wine producer in the Tamar Valley, this is partially fermented in old oak to add intrigue to the palate. Pear and white peach flavours are to the fore and there is some appealing acid on the finish. It is a lovely drink on its own, but you could also pair it with a basket of fritto misto. $35

Friday, 12 March 2021

Pooley 2019 Cooinda Vale Chardonnay


The Pooley family has such a strong team of operatives across all levels of the business that it seldom puts a foot wrong and is a byword for reliability among Tasmanian wine lovers. This assertive Coal River Valley chardonnay was hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed and wild fermented before being matured in a mixture of barriques and puncheons for nine months. The end result is a classic cool-climate chardonnay with lime and Granny Smith flavours to the fore; flintiness, slightly intrusive oak and grapefuity acidity. Powerful with aging potential. Pair with roast pork and crackling. $65.

Friday, 26 February 2021

Resolution Vineyard 2020 Pinot Noir

You'll have to move smartly if you want to snap up one of the best-value pinot noirs in Tasmania. Fewer than 100 cases were made in 2020 with quality high, but yields low. There was no vintage in 2019 owing to smoke taint. Crafted by Alain Rousseau at Frogmore Creek, this is made from fruit grown on a boutique vineyard at Middleton in the far south of the d'Entrecasteaux Channel in the deepest south of the state. Newly-released, this is aromatic and youthful, on the lighter side of the pinot spectrum but indisputably varietal. I likened it to a ballerina; coquettish but with an inner core strength. Pair this with pizza, or even chill it a little in the dying days of summer. $28.