Saturday 31 December 2016

Goaty Hill 2016 Riesling

There are two Tasmanian rieslings that usually stand out from the rest when matched with food; the Moores Hill Riesling and the Goaty Hill Riesling; sourced from vineyards just a few kilometres apart in the Tamar Valley. When I was a member of the judging panels for the Taste of Tasmania and Festivale, one of these two would invariably win the category. I am no longer a judge at either festival but the pair of them just keep notching up wins. One or the other. The 2016 from Goaty Hill is as good as ever; bright and shiny like a flashy new sports car with lemon/lime and grapefruit notes, effervescent floral characters and brisk, assertive acid. Pair this with oysters, crayfish or plain old flathead and chips and you have a winning combination. Outstanding. 94/100. $30.

Tuesday 27 December 2016

Emilia 2015 Pinot Noir

On the bright and juicy side of the pinot spectrum with plenty of oomph, this has a lot to commend it. Emilia is a five-hectare family vineyard at Spreyton on the central north coast of Tasmania planted six years ago by Marcus and Gail Burns, who have spent a portion of their lives in Emilia-Romagna in Italy, hence the name of their farm. Fortunately, they realised that Tasmania is not suitable for Italian grape varieties and went with pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris. The vines are still young but they have talented consultants in Fran Austin and Shane Holloway. I liked this a lot - and clearly there is a lot of potential ahead. $38.

Saturday 17 December 2016

Delamere Vineyards 2015 Chardonnay

A wine for sipping and savouring rather than quaffing, this is a very classy and beautifully balanced chardonnay crafted by Shane Holloway and Fran Austin at Pipers River winery Delamere. It's made in a classic cool-climate style with wild ferment, partial malo and 10 months of lees stirring in Burgundian oak barrels adding complexity and interest without deflecting away from the purity and intensity of the fruit. Think citrus notes, hints of white peach, some smoky oak and bright acid, all delightfully poised and coming in at just 13% alcohol. Match with roast pork and crackling; or cheesy pasta dishes. $50.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Bream Creek 2016 Pinot Rosé

The wines of Bream Creek have been enjoying a lot of success on the show circuit recently, thanks in large part to the attention paid by owner Fred Peacock to vineyard excellence. This delicious savoury rosé was rushed to market as the 2015 vintage had been sold out for several months. The fruit for this comes from one of the oldest vineyards in Tasmania, tucked away on the south-east coast. This is a super wine for summer enjoyment with lucious strawberries and cream notes, a dry finish and bright refreshing acid. Pair it with a Lebanese mezze platter. $28.

Friday 2 December 2016

Sinapius 2015 Home Vineyard Chardonnay

Yet another excellent wine from the talented team at Sinapius, at Pipers River, who keep turning out wines of quality and personality. I prefer this chardonnay, made using fruit from the winery block, to its sibling made from Tamar Valley fruit - although it is a close call. This is 100% estate grown from 20+ year-old vines, and newer close-planted stocks, and utilisies no fewer than eight different clones. The fruit was hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed, fermented using wild yeast and underwent lees stirring and full malo, along with 10 months in French oak, one- third new. Enticing floral aromas lead on to a pure, intensely-focused palate with citrus and stone fruit notes and delightful acidity. It's drinking brilliantly right now and would be brilliant with Asian-spiced pork belly. $50.

Monday 28 November 2016

MacLean Bay 2016 Pinot Rosé

It's from the East Coast of Tasmania and is estate-grown, hand-picked and artisanally crafted; all of which would normally scream "I'm expensive". Not this wine. The MacLean Bay label, a joint venture between two close friends, Scott Williams and Simon Will, not only offers boutique wines, but also excellent value. This recent release has some delightful floral aromas, fresh berry flavours and a nice brisk finish, along with some faint savoury notes. The vineyard, just north of Bicheno, used to be called Diamond Island. $24.

Friday 25 November 2016

Hughes & Hughes 20% Whole Bunch 2016 Pinot Noir

Something new. Something different. Something exciting. Brothers Jonny and Matt Hughes have considerable experience in the Tasmanian wine industry and have now struck out on their own with their Hughes & Hughes label. Based at Flowerpot, in the d'Entrecasteaux Channel south of Hobart, they have released three pinots from the recent 2016 vintage and this small-batch effort really caught my eye. As the label suggests, 20% is whole bunch processed, the remainder being whole berry. It's obviously a young wine, but it has both impressive power and texture. High-quality stuff - and a label worth keeping an eye out for. $33. Call 0439367653. 

Monday 14 November 2016

Grey Sands 2012 Chardonnay Viognier

Bob and Rita Richter, the couple behind Grey Sands Vineyard at Glengarry, march to the beat of a different winemaking drum, which means they can always be relied on to produce idiosyncratic wines with real personality. This blend of 90% chardonnay and 10% viognier is a case in point; a four-year-old white that is a current release; and an unusual blend of grapes. This is an alluring, complex white with a combination of tropical fruit and citrus notes. The viognier adds interesting textural elements and the wine finishes dry with brisk acid. $40.

Thursday 10 November 2016

Delamere Vineyards 2016 Rosé

The perfect choice for summer; a savoury but refreshing cool-climate rosé from talented wife and husband team Fran Austin and Shane Holloway at Pipers River in north-eastern Tasmania. Made from 100% pinot noir, Tasmania's star grape variety, this has delightful floral aromas that lead on to a dry palate with strawberry and cream notes. It is unoaked, relying on fresh fruit flavours for its inherent appeal. Pair with a Lebanese mezze plate, summer salads or just enjoy on the back porch after work. 

Friday 21 October 2016

Tasmanian Organic Wines 2015 Pinot Noir

Made in tiny quantities (the vineyard is only 1-hectare), this pinot noir never fails to impress. Ian and Caryl Cairns thumb their noses at the elements by growing top-class pinot using organic and biodynamic methods on the eastern foothills of the Cluan Tier overlooking the Liffey Valley outside Deloraine in north-western Tasmania. The massive diurnal variation in the region makes for intensely flavoured wines, which are hand-picked and made with minimal sulphur, and this is a crackingly good example, unashamedly varietal, tight, taut and terrific with great balance and immediately approachability. Delicious and well worth seeking out. $36. Ring (03) 6397 3470 for retail outlets.

Saturday 15 October 2016

No Clothes - No So2 2016 Pinot Noir

Joe Holyman is a colourful, fun-loving character, whose high-quality wines reflect both his sense of humour (take a look at the label on this bottle, which appears to feature either Joe or wine writer Mike Bennie naked) and his serious winemaking side. This is a charmingly rustic new release; made without the addition of any sulphur, which is used as a preservative in most wines. It takes "minimal intervention" to the brink as it was also bottled without being fined or filtered. If you enjoy wines made in the style of Beaujolais or Passetoutrgains you'll love this unpretentious little number. It is fresh and immediately approachable; like the vinous equivalent of a bowl of fresh strawberries and cream with truffles on top. It is texturally pleasing, too. Put a bottle of this in the fridge for an hour or so and enjoy chilled on a warm summer day. $32.

Saturday 8 October 2016

Sinapius 2016 Clem Blanc

Vaughn Dell and Linda Morice are a talented and innovative young couple who make some of Tasmania's most exciting wines under the Sinapius label, utilising fruit from their own close-planted vines at Pipers River and also using grapes sourced from the Tamar Valley. This is the second release of their white field blend from their own estate, a melange of 50% riesling, 30% gruner veltliner and 15% pinot gris, along with small portions of pinot blanc and gewurztraminer. Now bottled in Alsace-style bottles, this is thoroughly interesting wine with textural elements alongside bright fruit and crisp acid from young vines.The hand-picked fruit was whole-bunch pressed with a percentage of the fruit left on skins for 48 hours. The five varieties were co-fermented with using indigenous yeasts matured in old 500-litre puncheons, and kept on lees for five months. The end result is captivating; think apple, pear, citrus, stone fruit and spice notes, white pepper and kaffir limes, plenty of texture and crispness on the finish. Think Alsatian freshness rather than oiliness. With fewer than 400 cases made, speed might be of the essence. $38.

Friday 23 September 2016

42˚S NV Premier Cuvee

Some of Tasmania's finest sparkling wines are as expensive as premium Champagnes, but this non-vintage release from Frogmore Creek is both delicious and affordable. Made in an aperitif style, fresh and crisp, this has citrus and red berry flavours, along with toast and bright acid. It is a blend of 90% chardonnay and 10% pinot noir grown in the Coal River Valley, just outside Hobart. An elegant choice that would pair brilliantly with oysters or scalllops - or with savoury snacks at a Christmas party. $29.

Friday 16 September 2016

Stargazer 2016 Riesling

Stargazer is the striking label of former Wirra Wirra and Tower Estate winemaker Sam Connew and the release of her 2016 whites, along with an impressive 2015 Chardonnay, comes as a welcome relief as she ran out of stock from the previous vintage several months ago. This is an outstanding textural off-dry riesling and is the first made from fruit grown on the Palisander vineyard in the Coal River Valley, which Connew purchased in February. Along with hedgerow aromatics and bright citrus and Granny Smith apple notes, you'll find river pebble and quartz minerality and some fruit sweetness. The wine is a result of whole-bunch and wild ferments and was matured in a mix of stainless steel, ceramic eggs and older oak. Downright delicious, but it might pay to be quick as only 4533 bottles were produced. $35.  

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Home Hill 2015 Kelly's Reserve Pinot Noir

Home Hill, tucked away in the Huon Valley in the deep south of Tasmania, gained global recognition when the 2014 edition of its reserve pinot noir was awarded perhaps Australia's most famous wine accolade: the Jimmy Watson trophy. That win was thanks to the combined passion of owners Terry and Rosemary Bennett and expertise of viticultural/winemaker duo Paul and Gilli Lipscombe. This is the follow-up vintage and it is, once again, of exceptional quality. It is on the muscular side of the pinot spectrum, inky and intense, and should be given some time after the bottle is opened. I actually enjoyed it more on the second day than the first. The wine is made from the top barrels of the vintage with one small section of the vineyard at its core. It is earthy, complex, and has impressive tannin structure. A cellaring prospect? Certainly. $75.

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Spring Vale 2015 Chardonnay

This is seriously good gear at a very reasonable (read bargain) price. Spring Vale is a small family-run winery on Tasmania's remote East Coast that regularly punches above its weight in both quality and value. Tasted against several more expensive interstate siblings it shone over two nights and I ended up with an empty bottle. This is youthful and modern with delightful natural acidity, citrus and stone fruit flavours and almost imperceptible oak influence, even though 50% of the fruit is fermented in new and old French oak. I liked the minerality, the freshness, balance and texture and this would marry very well with roast pork and crackling. The Q code links to video and tasting notes is also a nice modern touch. 

Friday 26 August 2016

Moorilla Estate 2015 Praxis Pinot Noir

Photo: MONA/Remi Chavin
Fabulous Tassie pinot noir at a price that won't bust the budget. I love everything about this wine, made at Moorilla using grapes grown at the St Matthias vineyard in the north of the state. The label is typically outrageous with sicko graffiti images, but the wine is refined and elegant. Good work here from winemaker Conor van der Reest, who keeps the fruit power in check and delivers a beautifully balanced wine that is varietal and appealing. This is fresh and vibrant, and ready to enjoy. Very noice. $32.  

Monday 22 August 2016

Nocton Vineyard 2015 Chardonnay

Nocton Vineyard is one the (relatively) larger producers in the Coal River Valley, north-east of Hobart, is a producer on the move. New management, new labels and big plans, including a cellar door project in the works. Chinese-owned, it has had a focus on the Chinese market but is now broadening its horizons to home consumers. This is downright delicious with classic cool-climate chardonnay characters of peaches, pears and melons, allied to savoury and mineral notes. There's also plenty of length here, lots of refreshment and good value. $28.

Friday 19 August 2016

42˚S 2015 Pinot Noir

42 Degrees South is the entry-level label for high-quality Coal River Valley producer Frogmore Creek and utilises not only estate fruit but also grapes sourced from the rest of the state. This is quite a bold pinot; rich and quite intense, but also with an easy drinkability. Winemaker Alain Rousseau has blended sustainably-grown estate fruit with grapes from the East Coast to produce an early/mid-term drinking pinot with red berry fruits to the fore. Nicely balanced. $29.

Saturday 13 August 2016

Wineglass Bay 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

Tasmania is far better known for chardonnay and pinot noir than it is for sauvignon blanc, but Freycinet Vineyard winemaker Claudio Radenti believes the East Coast of the island state is particularly well suited to savvy. This is a very lively, intense wine, partially barrel fermented in older oak, although tropical fruit flavours and vivacious acid are the driving forces. Probably best enjoyed in its youth, it is a vibrant thirst quencher that would provide a very good match to Tasmanian seafood. Very long, very lively, extremely refreshing. $28.

Thursday 4 August 2016

Eileen Hardy 2014 Chardonnay

One of Australia's benchmark chardonnays and the Hardy's white wine flagship, this is a blend of fruit from Tasmania and the Yarra Valley. In both regions it was a vintage of low yields but high quality. This is very stylish and elegant with the cool-climate fruit the star turn. There are ripe stone fruit flavours interwoven with crisp citrus notes and toasty oak that adds to the party. The matriarch after whom the label is named would doubtless be very proud. Shop carefully and you'll probably be able to find it for well under the recommended retail price of $95.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Stoney Rise 2015 Pinot Noir

The prices for top-notch Tasmanian pinot noir can be stratospheric, which is why it is rewarding to come across one that shines but doesn't break the bank. Stoney Rise is the entry-level pinot from idiosyncratic Tamar Valley producer Joe Holyman and this new release is gloriously gluggable, sensationally sessionable, or whatever phrase you'd like to use to say that it is ridiculously easy to drink. It is all about the fruit, some estate grown, some purchased from local growers, in a drink-now wine that Holyman recommends enjoying with a pizza margherita and some delta blues. It is a juicy, focused little number with dark red fruit notes and restrained oak. One of those wines where it is all too easy to finish a bottle in one session. $28.

Saturday 23 July 2016

Dr Edge 2015 Pinot Noir

Peter Dredge is a hugely talented young winemaker who learnt his trade at Petaluma, who shone at Bay of Fires and is now making wines at Meadowbank in Tasmania's Derwent Valley. I first tried this a few weeks ago at Tasman Quartermasters in Hobart and then again the other day. It is a young red, made in tiny quantities, but it typifies the new wave of on-the-edge (see what I did there) pinots being made by labels like Sinapius, Two Tonne Tasmania and Sailor Seeks Horse.This is a blend of fruit from the Derwent Valley and the Tamar Valley further north, vinified at Moorilla. It's been through carbonic maceration and was them de-stemmed and fermented in open tanks before being basket pressed and matured briefly in older French barriques. As is all the rage it was bottled without fining or filtration. The label has an angry Dredgy raging against the machine; the wine is the opposite; delicate and nuanced. $55. 

Saturday 16 July 2016

Pipers Brook 2015 Pinot Gris

Pinot gris can be a difficult grape variety to get right, but Pipers Brook has hit the bullseye with this impressive new release which sits comfortably midway between the gris and grigio styles. There's ripe pear notes here, hints of an open-air spice market, orange peel and plenty of mouthfeel, alongside fresh citrus. It is an impressive cool-climate white that has seen minimal oak and finishes fresh and clean. A very enjoyable wine that would pair with anything from Cajun flathead to old-fashioned roast chook. $34.

Sunday 10 July 2016

Holm Oak 2015 Chardonnay

A very classy cool-climate chardonnay from the ever-reliable team at Holm Oak in the Tamar Valley. I matched this with a traditional roast pork - and then went to Tim and Bec Duffy's website to see they had made the same food matching suggestion. This is a really lovely wine with lively fruit and brisk acid allied to the merest hint of gunsmoke on the nose and oak (30% new) that is still a little assertive. The wine was naturally fermented and went through partial malo, adding palate interest but not taking away from the citrus/stone fruit vibrancy. There are hints of stony minerality, too, but all the elements come to together brilliantly. $32.

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Eddystone Point 2014 Pinot Noir

I loved this wine at the Tasmanian Red Wine Weekend a few weeks ago, and I enjoyed the new-release 2014 even more the other night, when a bottle mysteriously evaporated over a couple of hours. Eddystone Point is nominally the second label of Bay of Fires, producing wines that are more immediately accessible and more cheaply priced. This has everything you'd want in a "drink now" cool-climate pinot; freshness, vibrancy, raspberry and dark cherry notes, hints of Asian spice and undergrowth. It is wonderfully supple - and dangerously easy to drink. $28.

Sunday 19 June 2016

Delamere 2014 Chardonnay

This is a quintessentially modern-style Tassie chardonnay from the talented husband-and-wife team of Shane Holloway and Fran Austin from Delamere at Pipers River. Estate made, grown and bottled, it comes from a vintage that produced high-quality fruit in small quantities. This is a wine of impeccable balance. Unmistakably cool-climate chardonnay, it offers stone fruit and citrus notes, judicious, well-integrated French oak tones and lively acidity. It has undergone wild ferment, partial malo and months of lees stirring that has added complexity without diluting the purity. A wine of exceptional quality, this shines whether you are a sip-and-savour aficionado or like to go the full monty. Top stuff that I want to pair with roast pork and crackling. $45.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Gala Estate 2013 Constable Amos Pinot Noir

Constable Amos is Gala Estate's premium pinot noir, produced only in excellent vintages. It is named after estate owner Adam Greenhill's ancestor Adam Amos and won three trophies at the 2016 Tasmanian Wine Show. This is rich and ripe with a distinctive smoothness on the palate. It is a plump and juicy East Coast pinot that is drinking beautifully right now but will cellar well over the next five years. $57.

Friday 20 May 2016

Freycinet Vineyard 2012 Cabernet Merlot

Many mainlanders might be surprised that cool-climate Tasmania is able to produce quality red wines made from Bordeaux varieties but Domaine A, Grey Sands and Freycinet Vineyard all demonstrate that it can be done. This is a delightfully mature 50-50 blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot; beguiling and enticing with dark fruit notes, leafy characters and black olive/smoky cedar notes. Very savoury and potentially long-lived, this will delight Bordeaux lovers but comes without the price tag. I'd pair this with something like a beef casserole with herbed dumplings. $35.

Sunday 15 May 2016

Small Island 2015 Pinot Noir

As debuts go this is a pretty impressive one; particularly in the extremely competitive arena of Tasmanian pinot noir. Winemaker James Broinowski, who has worked several vintages around the globe, crowd-funded his entry into the wine business and his 90 or so initial investors must be pleased with this astutely judged new-release pinot; nicely balanced with both attractive fruit flavours and structural integrity. Small Island is off to a very impressive start.   

Thursday 5 May 2016

Maclean Bay 2015 Pinot Noir

A new name on the Tasmanian wine scene; but not a new vineyard. This venture between three friends uses the fruit from the former Diamond Island vineyard, 15 minutes north of Bicheno on the east coast of the island state. This is a young wine, fresh and attractive, and is estate grown, hand-picked and matured in French oak barrels. Pretty nifty all round. Vinified at Winemaking Tasmania but with a sense of individuality, this a label to look out for down the track. $33.

Monday 2 May 2016

Domaine A 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

Domaine A vigneron Peter Althaus marches to the beat of a different drum. Who else would seek to make quality cabernet in cool-climate Tasmania? Who else would hold back wines for up to eight years until they are at their peak. Who would continue to use corks when there is a swing towards screw caps? But Althaus is a man on a mission to make fine wine in the image of Bordeaux, and his little hot spot of a vineyard at Campania in the Coal River Valley performs miracles more often than not. Made with minimal intervention, matured in French oak barriques for 30 months, unfined, unfiltered and then given years in bottle, this blend of cabernet with smidgens of cabernet franc, merlot and petit verdot, has both balance and character. It is ripe, complex and elegant with fruit and oak in harmony. One for the aficionados. I'd give it 95 points. $120.

Milton 2015 Pinot Noir Rosé

The other night I lined up several rosés from around Australia. Different colours, different textures and flavours, but all served at the same temperature. Ahead of several much bigger names, this was a hands-down winner. Made from pinot noir grapes grown on the east coast of Tasmania, it is a vibrant drink-now style, pink but dry with some savoury notes alongside the strawberries and cream flavours. This is a pretty versatile food wine, too. We paired it with a spicy pork stir-fry but it would be perfect with Lebanese dishes. $25.

Sunday 24 April 2016

Wobbly Boot 2015 Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is the most capricious of grapes; but also the most captivating. In Tasmania, pinot is generally made in one of two styles; the fresh, up-front fruit-driven jubey style for immediate enjoyment and the savoury, structured style for cellaring pleasure. This is the first release of pinot from the re-born Wobbly Boot Vineyard in the Coal River Valley and it falls very much into the second category. There is impressive fruit, certainly; dark and spicy, but this has the architecture and chewy tannins to suggest it will mellow and improve over the next five years, at least. Good work from consultant winemaker Alain Rousseau. 

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Ninth Island 2014 Chardonnay

Ninth Island, the entry-level label of Pipers Brook, invariably offers good value for money. This is a vibrant and minerally chardonnay that's particularly food friendly, with a little more mouthfeel than with many simpler chardonnays. It is fresh and unoaked, showing off the quality cool-climate fruit (think citrus zest and ripe stone fruits), and would match particularly well with moules and frites, pan-fried fish fillets or old-fashioned roast chicken and stuffing. $22.50.

Friday 8 April 2016

Stefano Lubiana 2014 Gruner Veltliner

Steve Lubiana loves experimenting with Austrian varieties, and this is one of the first commercial releases of gruner veltliner in Tasmania (Joe Holyman also has some planted at Stoney Rise in the Tamar). Farmed biodynamically at Granton, north of Hobart, this is a fascinating take on the grape variety and has spent time in Austrian oak casks to add depth and texture. The young vines are not, as yet, producing wines that are particularly varietal but this is a very good drink that would match well with poultry or game dishes like pheasant or partridge. One of a number of outstanding wines in the Lubiana range. $38.

Friday 1 April 2016

Milton 2015 Riesling

There are very few vineyards in Tasmania that can match Milton for the quality of its aromatic whites. The 2015 pinot gris from the Dunbabin family's vines on the Freycinet Peninsula on the East Coast of the island state was exceptional, and this is another stand out. A gold medal winner, this is enticingly floral with lime and grapefruit flavours to the fore on the palate, which finishes crisp and clean. This paired very well with Cajun spice-crusted John Dory fillets but would also work with Asian dishes, or make an enjoyable after-work tipple. $25. 

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.