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. www.galaestate.com.au
Friday 20 May 2016
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. www.freycinetvineyard.com.au.
Sunday 15 May 2016
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
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. www.macleanbaywines.com.au.
Monday 2 May 2016
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. www.domaine-a.com.au/
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. www.miltonvineyard.com.au.