Saturday 29 December 2018

Bellebonne 2015 Vintage Cuvee

Natalie Fryar is known as the "Queen of Bubbles" and the former Jansz sparkling winemaker is building a formidable reputation for the quality of the wines under her own label. This 60-40 blend of cool-climate chardonnay and pinot noir is spot on stylistically, fresh, vibrant and pure with beautiful balance of ripe fruit and nutty/savoury notes. It's not for those who want their bubbles to have spent a decade or more on lees, but it is a delightful expression of Tasmanian quality fruit. Fryar says it is "Made by Tasmania".  Try it on New Year's Eve. $70. 

Sunday 23 December 2018

Elsewhere Vineyard 2018 Riesling

Owen Knight and his family took over the Elsewhere Vineyard in 2015. Once one of the gems of the Tasmanian wine industry, it needed some hard work in the vines to re-establish its credentials. Overlooking the Huon River at Glaziers Bay, Elsewhere is one of the southern-most vineyards in Tasmania and produces cool-climate wines of real character. This is a brilliant little riesling made by Glenn James at Winemaking Tasmania. It is full of the joys of life, with classic citrus aromas and lemon/lime/grapefruit sherbet notes on the long, refreshing palate. Crisp and fresh, it would be a perfect companion for a Christmas seafood platter. $34. 

Monday 17 December 2018

Gala 2018 Pinot Gris

The Gala vineyard at Cranbrook on Tasmania's East Coast is producing some outstanding wines at realistic prices. This is a wine that sits midway between the pinot gris and pinot grigio styles, with rich stone fruit complemented by the lively cool-climate acidity found in so many Tasmanian whites. Fresh, clean and very pure, it is a really lovely summer drink with a high refreshment quotient, perfect for enjoying with picnics and salads. $30.    

Monday 10 December 2018

Petrichor 2017 Single-Vineyard Pinot Noir

This is the first release from Petrichor Wines, based in the Coal River Valley just down the road from Hobart Airport. Tim Hodgkinson and Kate Akmentins moved to Tasmania from Sydney in 2014 and purchased 10-hectares at Tea Tree in 2017. They are planting and farming organically but in the meantime have sourced some fruit from a nearby vineyard for this impressive debut. This was made by Tim, whose full-time job is at Pooley Wines, and Thomas New (now of Mac Forbes) and is a single vineyard wine that was hand-picked and destemmed, wild fermented, basket-pressed and matured in older French oak. With minimal sulphur, no fining and no filtration, it is a beautifully balanced wine with contained power, elegance and complexity. Petrichor, incidentally, is the the word for the scent of rain on dry soil. $50.  

Friday 30 November 2018

Sun of a Bull 2018 Pipers River Gewurztraminer

Alex Russell is an experienced winemaker who specialises in alternative varietal wines in South Australia's Riverland region. He's now turned his focus to a region with completely different climate and terroir, cool-climate Tasmania. On the evidence of his first releases he seem to have a good handle on aromatic whites with the riesling the other standout for ,me in the range. Gewurz is German for spice and this gewurztraminer made using PIpers River fruit has spicy/tropical aromas with lychee and Turkish delight notes on the palate, which has some appealing crispness. This is off dry and delicate but has enough personality to match impressively with Thai or Vietnamese cuisine with some chilli. $25.

Saturday 24 November 2018

Bay of Fires 2017 Chardonnay

Both the 2017 Bay of Fires Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are in top form; impressive statements of cool-climate quality. The fruit for this wine doesn't actually come from anywhere near the Bay of Fires, it is a blend of fruit from East Coast Tasmania and the Derwent Valley. This is a chardonnay of excellent balance with both stone fruit and citrus flavours, with wild yeast allied to quality French oak to produce a complex wine that is drinking well now with impressive length, but can confidently be cellared for three or four years. Look out for this one on special as I've seen it priced well under the RRP of $50.    

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Laurel Bank 2016 Riesling

Laurel Bank is one of Tasmania's best-kept wine secrets. Established by Kerry Carland in 1986 at Granton, just 20 minutes north of the Hobart CBD, the Laurel Bank vines are next door to those of Stefano Lubiana, overlooking the Derwent River at Granton. This is a delightful riesling, older as a current release than many of its compadres, but drinking superbly. There is a fragrant floral/citrus nose leading to a nicely-rounded palate with stone fruit, grapefruit peel and flinty elements in harmony. There is a crisp finish but also some mouth-filling juiciness. Ready to enjoy right now. $25.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

MacLean Bay 2018 Pinot Rosé

This is an ideal wine for enjoying chilled over the fast-approaching summer months. Made from pinot noir grapes grown on a small vineyard outside Bicheno on Tasmania's East Coast, it is estate-grown and hand-picked, has strawberry fruit flavours and finishes dry with bright, fresh acid crispness. Terrific with picnics and a star with Lebanese dips and bread. The two previous vintages of this sold out, so it might pay to be quick. Good work from consultant winemaker Alain Rousseau. $35.

Thursday 1 November 2018

Home HIll 2017 Kelly's Reserve Pinot Noir

Move quickly to snap up the new release of what has become recognised as one of Tasmania's icon wines; a Jimmy Watson Trophy winner back in 2015. This is one for the cellar; intense, dark and brooding with mushroom and black cherry to the fore, and remarkably good given 2017 was a difficult vintage in the Huon Valley in Tasmania's deep south. This is hugely aromatic with spice notes, darkness and complexity. The tannin structure suggests it will a be a wine for the medium-to-long haul, but don't dilly dally, yields were down in 2017 and production was limited. For those on a tighter budget, the Home Hill 2017 Estate Pinot Noir has already amassed seven show trophies and is more immediately accessible than it senior sibling, while sharing much of its intensity. Have bob each way and buy a half case of each. Good work from the Bennett family and winemakers Paul and Gilli Lipscombe. $75. 

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Arras 2004 EJ Carr Late Disgorged

Tasmanian producer House of Arras is a dominant force at Australian wine shows and has been recognised for lifting standards across the Australian sparkling wine industry. This is part of a recently-released collection of different styles and has spent 13 years on lees developing complexity. I shared this bottle of this chardonnay-dominant blend with a recent wine tasting class and all present admired its intensity and complexity. Superb mouthfeel; great work from visionary winemaker Ed Carr, and a terrific present for a lover of bubbles. Marvellous. 

Tuesday 16 October 2018

42 Degrees South 2018 Pinot Grigio

With summer just around the corner everyone needs a few bottles like this in the fridge. It's an ideal style for enjoying with a weekend picnic, with friends on the deck or over a Big Bash game on the TV. What I like most about this new release from the Frogmore Creek stable is its freshness and vivacity. While many producers have a bob each way and make wines that sit midway between gris and grigio in style, this is unashamedly made in the northern Italian style with brisk citrus and ripe tropical truit notes, allied to a cool-climate crisp acid finish. Great with seafood, spicy Asian dishes or simply for sipping on a warm evening. $27.    

Saturday 6 October 2018

Wellington & Wolfe 2018 Session Riesling

This is the second release of this popular collaboration between Hugh McCullough and Natalie Fryar; a very brisk, very crisp cool-climate riesling made this year from Tamar Valley fruit. The warm 2018 vintage helped in crafting a wine that has undergone some skin contact and was left on yeast lees to add structure and texture. The end result is aromatic and approachable; a riesling packed with citrus freshness aided and abetted by hints of pear and peach. The finish is tangy and bone dry with plenty of length. Highly recommended. Enjoy chilled. Preferably today. $35.

Friday 28 September 2018

Freycinet Vineyard 2014 Cabernet/Merlot

I was all set to write about the wonderfully zesty 2018 Freycinet Vineyard Riesling when this popped up; a mature, meticulously-crafted red blend that demonstrates how good cabernet can be when planted in the right sites in cool-climate Tasmania. Winemaker Claudio Radenti is right on target here with a wine made from 32-years-old estate vines on Tasmania's east coast. With a breakdown of 74% cabernet sauvignon, 8% cabernet franc and 19% merlot, this is very Left Bank Bordeaux-like in style with blackcurrant and fresh herb notes in harmony with smoky French oak. Elegant and immediately accessible, it is very stylish and highly recommended. Pair with lamb roast, or an aged Cheddar cheese. I scored this 94/100 and would recommend buying a half dozen, drinking a couple now and putting the rest away for a year or two. $38 CD.  

Friday 14 September 2018

Two Tonne Tasmania 2018 Ziggurat

This unusual blend of riesling and gewurztraminer might not appeal to all wine drinkers but it will certainly reward those with a sense of adventure. The latest release from Tamar Valley wunderkind Ricky Evans is all about texture. He has taken a combination of barrel-fermented and stainless-steel fermented riesling left on lees for three months and then blended that with 7.5% gewurztraminer fermented on skins. The end result is a meaty, yeasty, crisp and fresh white wine of considerable palate interest. Evans describes his wines as being made "in small parcels with big love". Hard to find but try Drink & Co. in Hobart. $28.

Glaetzer-Dixon 2017 sur lie Chardonnay

A delightfully delicious chardonnay from Nick Glaetzer at Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers, made using quality fruit from the Upper Derwent Valley. There is something inherently Macon-like here in just the second release of a wine that is full of cool-climate chic. Tank-fermented and then aged on lees for four months, this has drinkability plus with crispness combined with impressive textural and mineral elements. You'll find it at the Glaeztzer-Dixon urban winery/cellar door on the fringes of downtown Hobart. $30.    


Friday 31 August 2018

Stoney Rise 2017 Pinot Noir

Winemaker Joe Holyman boasts that his entry-level Stoney Rise pinot noir has not seen a price rise in a decade. At a time when new producers are commanding staggering sums for Tassie pinots, that makes this new release terrific value. It is a medium-bodied red, juicy and red fruit-driven pinot with hints of white pepper and a soft mouthfeel. One for drinking over the next couple of years, Holyman recommends pairing it with gyoza, or steak tartare. $29.

Saturday 25 August 2018

Ghost Rock 2016 Chardonnay

The Arnold family is making some cracking wines from its vineyards at Northdown on the Central North Coast of Tasmania, just outside Devonport. Justin Arnold, son of the founders, has taken over the business and lifted it to new heights. This is a beautiful, modern-style, cool-climate chardonnay with plenty of flavour and matching textural appeal. It was hand-picked and whole-bunch pressed with barrel fermentation and partial malo lifting the texture, along with lees stirring. I love the intensity here; and the counterbalance of a brisk, acid finish. Very well priced, too. $35.

Friday 17 August 2018

Moores Hill 2018 Pinot Rosé

Another gem from Tasmania's first 100% solar-powered winery: Moores Hill on the left bank of the Tamar Valley. Made from pinot noir grapes, this is a classic savoury, pale rosé of huge appeal; matching brilliantly with everything from salads to Middle Eastern feasts or Asian stir-fries. You'll find juicy strawberry and cream characters on the palate, which finishes crisp and dry. Probably best enjoyed slightly chilled - and in its vibrant youth. $30.

Saturday 11 August 2018

Pipers Brook 2017 Pinot Noir

Pipers Brook is one of Tasmania's pioneering wineries; starting back in 1974 when the industry was in its infancy. After a rocky period, the very talented Jim Chatto has righted the good ship and quality from the north coast vineyards is once again looking good. This is an atypical Tasmanian pinot noir in a way, quite big and inky with dark berry and spice characters and very firm tannins. It is an estate-grown and -bottled wine of definition and precision with its serious structure and length earmarking it as one for the cellar, medium to long term. 

Saturday 4 August 2018

Frogmore Creek 2016 Pinot Noir

Frogmore Creek has long been at the forefront of cool-climate viticulture in Tasmania, producing an impressive range of wines from its vineyards in the Coal River Valley. This is a sustainable-grown, hand-picked pinot noir that's delightful when young, but should also cellar well for a decade or so if that is your preference. I like the approach French winemaker Alain Rousseau takes to pinot noir, treading a path midway between some over the uber-plush styles and pale creatures. This is a smoky, silky, textural and full-bodied  number (think Hugh Hefner's pyjamas) with some ripe fruit but also astutely-judged balance. Charming. $40.

Tuesday 31 July 2018

Mewstone 2017 Chardonnay

Mewstone produces terrific single-vineyard wines using fruit from a small vineyard at chilly Flowerpot in the far south of Tasmania. The Hughes brothers, who also make wines under the Hughes & Hughes label, are believers in minimal intervention and letting their fruit speak of its time and place. This wine is made in tiny quantities; whole-bunch pressed directly to barrel and naturally fermented. It spent nine months in 50% new oak before being released. I was lucky enough to try a glass at the Old Wharf restaurant at Hobart's Macq 01 hotel, where its vibrancy and textural interest paired impressively with with a whole baked snapper served with tarragon beurre blanc.  All the elements of a terrific chardonnay are here in a wine of beautiful balance. If you are lucky enough to find any, snap it up. $60.   

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Apogee 2018 Alto Pinot Gris

For over 40 years, Dr Andrew Pirie has been at the forefront of the Tasmanian wine industry. He created some of the state's key vineyards and wineries including Pipers Brook, Ninth Island and Pirie sparkling. He now concentrates his efforts on his own Apogee label, with wines made from his small vineyard at Lebrina. 30 minutes north of Launceston. While sparkling wine is a focus, he also makes small quantities of Alto, which falls stylistically midway between pinot grigio and pinot gris. It has layers of flavour of the palate, a la gris, but also some zingy acid, in the style of grigio. This is a single vineyard wine from a very good vintage, very pale in colour with enticing floral aromatics and a busy palate with poached pear, talcum powder and that zesty minerality.  Around 10% of the fruit was fermented in small oak and allowed to proceed through a malolactic fermentation to soften  and create complexity. Textural and delicious, and fine match for fish dishes or white meats like pork and chicken. $44.  

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 on 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.  

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.   

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.  

Sunday 6 May 2018

Bream Creek 2016 Reserve Chardonnay

The past few vintages from Fred Peacock and his team at Bream Creek Vineyard have been excellent - the 7.5 hectare vineyard at Marion Bay was originally planted in 1974, making it one of the oldest commercial vineyards on the island. Peacock purchased it is 1990. The 2016 vintage was a stunner in Tasmania and this very-limited-release reflects that with high-quality fruit showing citrus and stone fruit flavours allied to spicy French Oak, some buttery/savoury notes and excellent length, all at just 12.9% alcohol. Pair with white meat dishes like stuffed pork loin, or a traditional roast chicken. Already stylish and sophisticated, this will benefit from short- to medium-term cellaring. 94/100. $42. 

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Kate Hill 2017 Sauvignon Blanc

The talented Kate Hill, once of Orlando, has planted her own vines at Ranelagh in the Huon Valley, deep in the south of Tasmania, but while she waits for them to mature she sources some excellent fruit from growers. This is a prime example; a brisk, palate-pleasing sauvignon blanc made from grapes grown in the Coal River Valley. It is a million miles away from Marlborough savvy in style, with grapefruit/lime juice and stone fruit flavours to the fore alongside vibrant acid. Made in a fresh, lively style, this is an excellent choice for one of the last days of summer sunshine. $30. 

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Hughes & Hughes 2017 Riesling

I have been working my way slowly through the Hughes & Hughes range, and also sharing some of the wines with members of my tasting groups. The responses have been universally positive with a couple of pinot noirs being major hits, along with this floral, citrusy and downright delicious riesling. The back story is a terrific one with brothers Jonny and Matthew Hughes, based at Flowerpot in the extreme south of Tasmania, making wines that are full of verve, texture and interest.This is a blend of fruit sourced from the Coal River and Derwent valleys. Only 2500 bottles were made, but this is well worth seeking out. $27.   

Sunday 8 April 2018

Sailor Seeks Horse 2016 Pinot Noir

In just a couple of years, Paul and Gilli Lipscombe have developed cult status for their glorious Huon Valley pinots - and with some young vines coming online there is more of it than ever before (although production is still tiny). This is a very structural pinot with great acid and intensity that sits midway between the fruit-driven style favoured by many Tasmanian pinot producers and more subtle savoury nuances. It is a wine of power and palate interest, with an immediate drinkability factor. Long and supple; serious but fun. $50  

Thursday 29 March 2018

Bream Creek 2017 Pinot Rosé

There is something stirring down at Bream Creek. The wines from Fred Peacock's vineyard have always been reliably good but nowadays they are reaching another level. This wine, inspired by the dry rosés of Provence, is a case in point. I've tried it several times over the past few months and it has never failed to deliver crispness and freshness with a tangy cranberry/raspberry bite on the palate. Made from 100% pinot noir it has terrific acidity and would probably be best enjoyed well chilled, as a youngster, perhaps matched with some Middle Eastern dips. $29. 

Saturday 17 March 2018

IQ Wines 2017 Gewürztraminer

This lovely wine, light and well balanced, was judged the best white at the Bream Creek Show yesterday - and it is one of better Australian gewurzs I've tried; varietal but restrained. The nose alone reveals it as gewurz with its musky, Turkish Delight notes, and those characters follow through to the palate with fresh lychee notes joining in the palate party. Inverquharity, called IQ for convenience, is a 10-year-old,1.2 hectare vineyard, located just out of Richmond in the Coal River Valley. The vineyard is predominantly planted with pinot noir with a few rows of gewürztraminer. The wines are made by Alain Rousseau at Frogmore Creek. You'll need to be quick for this one, as its made in tiny quantities. $30.

Saturday 10 March 2018

Holyman 2016 Tasmania Pinot Noir

Joe Holyman is one of the great characters of the Tasmanian wine industry - a former Sheffield Shield cricketer and party boy from way back when. Everyone who is anyone in the wine industry knows Joe. But Holyman's irreverent attitude and love of a beer should not detract from from the seriousness with which he approaches his winemaking - and has done for the past two decades. The wines under his two labels, Holyman and Stoney Rise, are impeccably crafted, the first using estate-grown fruit from his western Tamar vineyard. There's a lot of quality here; plenty of flavour and impeccable balance. This vintage saw 55% whole bunches during ferment and 30% new French oak barrels for maturation. Power meets poise; structure meets seduction. Cellar worthy - certainly. You'd almost swear it was made by some serious old duffer wearing a tweed jacket. $55.

Saturday 17 February 2018

Hughes & Hughes 2017 Tasmania Pinot Noir

Brothers Jonny and Matthew Hughes are names to watch in the impressive arena of boutique Tasmanian wines. Their top wines are sold under the Mewstone label. This is smashingly good young pinot made from a blend of grapes from the D’Entrecasteaux Channel (where they are based at Flowerpot), the Coal River, Derwent and Huon valleys. There is a small amount of whole bunch in the blend and each batch was held on skins for 18-22 days before being pressed to oak. The wine is unfined, low sulphur and made in very small quantities - but worth chasing down. Superbly slurpable. $30.

Sunday 4 February 2018

Bream Creek 2017 Schönburger

This will almost certainly be the finest schönburger you've ever tasted. It might also be the first. This rare German grape variety has been pioneered in Australia by Tasmanian viticulturist Fred Peacock and after several years of experimentation by the Bream Creek winemakers this is very much in the groove. From a good vintage, this is probably best described as a cross, style-wise, between riesling and gewurztraminer. Think tropical fruit flavours, lychee and Turkish delight, with a long, clean finish and some residual sugar balanced by fresh acid. We paired this with a very spicy Thai chicken curry and it was a combination that shone. Only 200 cases are made, so it might pay to be quick. $29.

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Holm Oak 2017 Pinot Gris

It was a complete toss-up whether I reviewed the 2017 Holm Oak Pinot Gris or the equally excellent riesling from the same vintage. Both are outstanding examples of cool-climate Tasmanian viticulture and offer excellent value as interesting sub-$30 aromatic whites. This family-owned Tamar Valley winery is one of the most reliable in the state, and the pinot gris is particularly food friendly; an amiable companion for fresh Tasmanian seafood, particularly scallops and octopus.There is an appealing blend of vivacious acidity and the oiliness often found in gris. The end result is a wine with appealing aromatics, fresh pear flavours, complexity from partial wild ferments and more length than Tally Sally. $28.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Moorilla 2016 Praxis Pinot Noir

You don't find too much quality Tasmanian pinot noir for $30 these days; prices have leapt over the $50 a bottle mark, even for new labels. That makes this young pinot made using fruit from the St Matthias vineyard in the north of the state a real bargain. It is on the lighter side of the spectrum with just 13.1% alcohol and offers blueberry and cherry notes on a summery palate. Very easy to drink this one, and it could even be chilled a tad over the warmer months. Best enjoyed young and fresh. $32.  

Saturday 13 January 2018

Sinapius 2017 Esmé Rouge

Think the remote countryside of Beaujolais; the rural aromas and rustic flavours. It seems bizarre that wine that's estate grown in Pipers River, northern Tasmania, should emerge so beguilingly French but that's what Vaughn Dell and Linda Morice have achieved with fruit from their close-planted gamay vineyard. Handpicking, whole-bunch and full cluster carbonic maceration play the key roles in this funky young wine, matured in old barriques for seven months and then and bottled without fining and filtration with minimal sulphur. Think bright red berry fruit notes, wild herbs and a palate that is as soft as Donald Trump's cranium. You could chill this for a few minutes, or simply sip it for summer enjoyment. Not your standard red - but well worth seeking out for its length and brightness. $38. 

Monday 8 January 2018

Goaty Hill 2017 Riesling

It's all change at Tamar Valley boutique producer Goaty Hill - with new labels for the 2017 and subsequent vintages. I've long been a fan of the fresh, accessible Goaty Hill style and the new-release riesling, pinot gris and rosé wines all live up to that reputation. The riesling has been one of Tasmania's very best over the past few vintages but this sees the typical racy citrus notes joined by some textural character that no doubt reflects the estate vineyard. This has lovely balance, palate interest and a high refreshment quota. $30.