Tuesday 27 December 2022

Bream Creek 2021 Cabernet Merlot

You don't find a lot of Bordeaux-style red blends in Tasmania, with both cabernet and merlot needing a warm micro-climate to deliver quality grapes. This is a traditional Left Bank-accented Bordeaux blend of 55% cabernet sauvignon and 45% merlot, sourced from the Pages Creek vineyard at Tea Tree. The wine has been aged for 12 months in a combination of new and used French oak barrels and is an aromatic, medium-bodied red with mulberry and bramble characters to the fore, with just a hint of the herbal green notes traditionally found in "clarets". A smooth, subtle number that is designed for sipping, rather than sculling. $36. https://www.breamcreekvineyard.com.au/

Tuesday 20 December 2022

Quiet Mutiny 2022 Charlotte's Elusion Pinot Meunier Rosé


Summer time is rosé time and this rosé from southern Tasmania is perfect for enjoying well chilled with a picnic or at the beach. It's a lovely laidback wine that's bright and fresh and doesn't demand too much thought - but might well suffer from an evaporation problem. This is made by Greer Carland, formerly of Winemaking Tasmania and the winemaker for her family label Laurel Bank. It is made from pinot meunier - most often used in sparkling wines - sourced from the warmer east coast of Tasmania. Delicious drinking and well priced at $35. https://quietmutiny.wine/ 

Tuesday 13 December 2022

Bangor 2020 Abel Tasman Pinot Noir


If you enjoy your pinots powerful and with serious structure then this new release from Bangor - on the Tasman Peninsula - will be be right up your alley. Only 250 cases were made of this flagship wine, which is a serious, complex pinot that will reward cellaring for up to a decade as it softens out. Think red fruit flavours, barrel maturation on lees for 10 months in 35% new French oak, hints of nutmeg and defined tannins. Great with mushroom dishes, or a Chinese roast duck. $54. https://bangorshed.com.au/

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Freycinet Vineyard 2017 Shiraz


If you like your shiraz full of alcoholic grunt and lashings of intrusive new oak then you've come to the wrong place. If you enjoy your shirazes medium-bodied, food friendly and with hints of pepper and spice then welcome. The Freycinet 2017 Shiraz is an estate-grown wine from one of the warmer vineyards on Tasmania's east coast, enabling winemaker Claudio Radenti to produce shirazes with personality and balance. There are some dark fruit flavours, sure, but also hints of Asian spices and some some considered textural elements on the palate. Lovely stuff. Pair with a steak and kidney pie, or some fricasseed mushrooms. $60. http://freycinetvineyard.com.au/

Tuesday 29 November 2022

Domaine A 2017 Pinot Noir


The Stoney Vineyard in the Coal River Valley is a rare vineyard site;capable of producing red wines of style and swagger in even the most difficult of vintages. Domaine A is now owned by Moorilla, but this was made by the late former owner Peter Althaus, something of a Tasmanian wine legend. It is a very serious pinot indeed, with a stern face that quickly reveals a softer side. This is made from low-yielding vines that produce fruit of real intensity, and 18 months in French oak has added character and complexity. There are also slight hints of eucalypt to convince you that you are not drinking a Burgundy. Unfined, unfiltered and just marvellous paired with a veal escalope. $85. https://domaine-a.com.au/   

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Small Wonder 2022 Riesling


Tasmania is best known for its stellar sparkling wines, along with still wines made from pinot noir and chardonnay. Riesling remains a well-kept secret, but this Tamar Valley vineyard has an impressive track record of producing fine, dry rieslings with well-balanced acid. Small Wonder is the new name for the vineyard formerly known as Goaty Hill, which was one of my favourite riesling producers. Now under new ownership, the quality remains intact. This has plenty of citrus flavours, energetic minerality and impressive acid drive on the palate. Match with oysters, fish and chips or some Korean barbecue. Lovely stuff and excellent value. $32. www.smallwonderwines.com.au/     

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Delamere 2016 Tasmania Sparkling Cuvee


I shared a bottle of this one with my tasting group and then regretted it because I wished I had kept it for myself. Only joking, but it is an outstanding Tasmanian sparkling wine made by husband and wife team Shane Holloway and Fran Austin - one of several stellar bubblies in the estate-grown and -made Delamere range. There is delightful elegance and balance here with florals, citrus and mineral notes to the fore in a blend of two-thirds chardonnay and one-third pinot noir. The vineyard was first established in 1982 making it one of the oldest in Pipers River and the fruit has piercing intensity. Seriously delicious. $55. www.delamerevineyards.com.au/

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Maclean Bay 2022 Tasmania Pinot Rosé

Maclean Bay is one of the more recent arrivals on the wine scene in Tasmania, and the pinot noir specialist remains something of a secret. Not for much longer I'd hazard a guess given my recent tastings of the 2021 Pinot Noir and this 2022 rosé that cries out to be enjoyed well chilled on a warm summer day. Maclean Bay is based just north of Bicheno on the warmer east coast of Tassie, and its wines have plenty of ripe fruit drive about them. This is made 100% hand-picked estate-grown pinot noir and offers excellent value. Think liquid strawberries and cream. $32. www.macleanbaywines.com.au/

Tuesday 1 November 2022

Barringwood 2021 Pinot Noir


Instant gratification. This is the entry level wine of the three pinots in the Barringwood range, but it offers the most immediate pleasure with its bright fruit. This is a blend of grapes from three different regions of Tasmania, but from vineyards all owned by the family: the original vineyard near Lake Barrington and younger vines at Evandale, and on the east coast. This was one of the stars of the recent Mould+Pinot Palooza tasting in Hobart with its lively cherry and red berry juiciness, with savoury and deli notes filling out the palate. You could even chill this slightly on a warm day. Lovely stuff - and a great choice for pairing with a cheese platter. $40. www.barringwood.com.au

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Spring Vale 2022 Pinot Gris


Pinot gris from Tasmania is often under-rated because the Apple Isle produces so many stellar bubbles, pinots noir and chardonnays. This new release is right in the zone between the gris and grigio styles with Spring Vale having toned back on ripeness and upped freshness. This fifth-generation family operation is located at Cranbrook on the Freycinet Coast and is well worth a visit with its atmospheric cellar door. Think pear and citrus aromas leading on to a palate with plenty of depth - thanks to maturation on lees - but also some lively fruit on the finish. Pair with local seafood, or a chicken schnitzel. $34. www.springvalewines.com/

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Freycinet Vineyard 2022 Schönburger Riesling


Claudio Radenti and his talented team at Freycinet Estate on Tasmania's east coast make a number of wines more serious than this one; but few that are as much fun for immediate drinking pleasure, This unusual blend screams "chill me, drink me" over the summer period. The schönburger grape is a hybrid developed in Germany that has found a home in Tasmania and it makes for a happy marriage when blended with riesling; adding tropical fruit notes to the citrus and acidity of the riesling. The blend is 55% schönburger and 45% riesling and it finishes crisp acid with touch of residual sugar. Pair with Thai, or Korean, dishes, or perhaps fish and chips. Value with a capital V for $28. http://freycinetvineyard.com.au/

Tuesday 11 October 2022

Pepperjack 2022 Sauvignon Blanc


Here's a bit of an oddity, but I liked this wine a lot at this week's Treasury Wine Estates tasting. Pepperjack is a Barossa-based blend that is - rather bewilderingly - spreading its tentacles far and wide. This is a blend of 60% Tasmanian fruit from White Hills in the north of the state and 40% from the Limestone Coast in South Australia. The surprise is that it works so well. Think generous aromatics and gooseberry/grapefruit/fresh herb notes, along with very zippy acidity on the finish. It is a vibrant, textural (perhaps thanks to 2% of the fruit seeing oak treatment) wine for immediate summer enjoyment, perhaps paired with shellfish, or fish and chips. $25. https://www.pepperjack.com.au/  

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Kate Hill 2020 Huon Valley Pinot Noir

I may be biased about this wine because I have done several shifts at Kate Hill's cellar door during the pandemic, but this shines as a superb example of cool-climate pinot noir from one of the southernmost - and coolest - parts of Tasmania. It has proven a hit with tasters since being released a few weeks ago and has delightful varietal character along with with a smooth, elegant finish. The balance between raspberry fruit notes, French oak and savoury/undergrowth flavours and textures is impressive. Made in small batches and I suspect this will sell out rapidly given the cellar door response. $60. www.katehillwines.com.au.  

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Bangor Vineyard 2022 Maria Rosé

Bangor Shed is one of Tasmania's most beguiling vineyard destinations - open seven days a week for lunch and tastings and offering superb views. It is only a 45-minute drive from Hobart and the vines are now over a decade old , producing some quality fruit. I tried two new 2022 releases this week, a pinot gris and this rosé, both of which shone. Made from 100% pinot noir, this was partially aged in barrel on lees, giving the wine a soft and creamy texture alongside its appealing red berry freshness. A versatile choice, this could be enjoyed on the deck after work, or with a wide range of food styles. We enjoyed it with a lightly spiced Massaman beef dish. $40. https://bangorshed.com.au/ 

Tuesday 20 September 2022

Holm Oak 2022 Riesling


I found it really hard to decide whether to review this new release or the excellent 2021 Holm Oak Pinot Noir. In the end I opted for this because everyone knows about the quality of Tasmanian pinot noir but quality riesling from the island state remains far less well known. This is a stellar example of cool-climate riesling from husband and wife team Tim and Bec Duffy at Holm Oak in the Tamar Valley. Thank fresh floral aromas, bright, crunchy acidity and vibrant lemon/lime fruit notes with delightful minerality. A lovely food wine for only $30. www.holmoakvineyards.com.au/

Tuesday 13 September 2022

Dr Edge 2021 Chardonnay


It is a foolish rookie error to leave it a few weeks before reviewing any Dr Edge wine release. Peter Dredge's wines have a cult following and this one is sold out - according to the website - although you may be lucky enough to find some in retail stores. Dredge is probably best known for pinot noir and riesling, but this blend of fruit from both ends of Tasmania soars and swirls with a palette of flavours and textures, while remaining resolutely varietal. Using Tamar and Derwent Valley fruit, it was pressed to old casks and then barrel fermented in there before being aged for nine months. This is a wonderfully athletic and energetic wine with citrus fruit, minerality and structure. Very impressive. $65. https://www.dr-edge.com/

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Bream Creek 2021 Reserve Chardonnay


There are very few wine producers in Tasmania as versatile - or reliable - as Bream Creek. From sparkling wines to rieslings, pinot noirs to Bordeaux blends, everything Bream Creek produce is impressive and sensibly priced - a testament to Fred Peacock's viticultural expertise and deft winemaking from Liam McElhinney. This new release hits a lot of high notes for lovers of serious cool-climate chardonnays: it is very varietal and with terrific structure, so this can either be enjoyed in its youth - perhaps with some pan-fried flathead - or cellared over the short to medium term. $48. www.breamcreekvineyard.com 

Tuesday 30 August 2022

Kate Hill 2017 Pinot Noir


Kate Hill only releases her wines when she thinks they are approaching their peak, which means her range includes a delicious 2019 riesling and this nifty new-release pinot. Made from a blend of fruit sourced from the Coal River and Derwent Valleys, but made in her Huon Valley winery, this pulls off the clever trick of combining classic dark cherry and currant flours with some earthy undergrowth/mushroom notes. The end result is an extremely food friendly medium-bodied red that combined a treat with a roast lamb en croute. $42. www.katehillwines.com.au/       

Thursday 25 August 2022

Lowestoft 2020 La Maison Pinot Noir


This was named Pinot Noir of the Year in the Halliday Wine Companion 2023, so I had high expectations. That were exceeded. This is sophisticated, stylish, slinky and sexy - the vinous equivalent of a little black dress, where less is more. The Fogarty Group purchased the historic Lowestoft vineyard at Berriedale in 2019 and winemaker Liam McElhinney is making the most of the fruit - with this wine having a big impact at capital city shows. Owner Peter Fogarty believes the close-planted, three-hectare Lowestoft site, which is approaching 50 years of age, has the potential to produce one of Australia’s greatest pinot noirs - and he's been proven right straight off the bat. This is a precise, structured pinot with dark and red fruit flavours; texture has been added by the inclusion of whole bunches and with French oak making an impact in the background. Buy at least two bottles, One for  now and one for the cellar. 97 points from me. $130. https://lowestoft.wine

Monday 15 August 2022

Invercarron 2022 Rosé

The Jones family were early settlers in the Jordan Valley, north of Hobart, with a history dating back to 1827. They have been farming in the region for generations. Their latest venture is the first vineyard in the Jordan Valley - one that is producing impressive fruit, as evidenced by this aromatic, lively and food-friendly young pinot noir rosé that shone at a recent wine lunch at Rathmore. The estate-grown fruit is vinified at Ghost Rock in the north of the state. This is partially oak fermented to add palate interest, but is all about the lively strawberry fruit notes. Vegan friendly. $32. https://invercarronwines.com.au/

Monday 8 August 2022

Delamere Vineyard 2021 Chardonnay


Two heads are certainly better than one in the case of Delamere Vineyard in Pipers River. Partners Fran Austin and Shane Holloway are both hugely talented winemakers in their own right and while they have tended to focus on sparkling wines recently, they also produce table wines of outstanding merit like this new-release cool-climate chardonnay that is elegant with plenty of personality. All the wines are 100% estate-grown, -made and bottled and this delightfully understated chardonnay offers white stone fruit and citrus notes with plenty of length and textural interest on the palate. Paired well with deep-fried ribaldo. $66. www.delamerevineyards.com.au/shop   

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Wednesday 3 August 2022

Holm Oak 2021 Shiraz


There are myriad reasons why shiraz will always be a minor variety in cool-climate Tasmania, but the island state is home to an increasing number of producers who craft crunchy, medium-bodied shirazes with plenty of food-friendly appeal. This is a standout from wife and husband winemaking/viticulture team Bec and Tim Duffy at Holm Oak in the Tamar Valley. Understandably made in tiny quantities, this has delightful red berry fruit flavours in play with crisp minerality alongside some peppery notes. From an excellent vintage. Great with a cheese platter, or a rare steak. $50. https://www.holmoakvineyards.com.au/   

Thursday 21 July 2022

Dr Edge 2021 Pinot Noir


A triumph from Peter Dredge, one of Tasmania’s finest winemakers. This is elegant, with pebbly minerality, wonderfully varietal character and is deliciously drinkable. It is a blend of Derwent Valley fruit (60%) Tamar Valley (30%) & East Coast (10%), which come together brilliantly after whole bunch handling and partial carbonic maceration treatment. Old oak casks add an element of seriousness to the fun fruit. This is floral, impressively delicate and simultaneously coquettish. Bright acid, nice tannins and refreshment plus with bright raspberry fruit character. $60. https://www.dr-edge.com/.

Monday 11 July 2022

Sinapius 2021 Grüner Veltliner


You can count on Linda Morice at Sinapius to produce wines of high quality with a point of difference - and this Tasmanian take on the classic Austrian white grape Grüner Veltliner is no exception. This is a delightfully food-friendly dry white from the Pipers River region in the far north of the state. It has been naturally fermented and matured in both large and small format oak. It underwent full malo, and is unfined and ulfiltered. Think melon aromas, pear, white pepper and river pebble notes on the palate, interesting texture and good length. This paired well with a vegetable curry. $38. https://sinapius.com.au/

Monday 4 July 2022

Apogee 2019 Deluxe Vintage Rosé


There is just no stopping Tasmanian wine pioneer Andrew Pirie, who continues to produce outstanding wines from his tiny Apogee vineyard at Lebrina in northern Tasmania at an age when many of his contemporaries are tucked up in front of the fire with their slippers on. This is an outstanding example of cool-climate sparkling wines in the mode that has made the world sit up and take notice of Tasmanian bubbles. This is very floral, bone dry with an impressive mousse, expressive wild strawberry flavours on the very crisp palate with intense minerality along with impressive length. Lovely stuff. $75. www.apogeetasmania.com/  

Tuesday 28 June 2022

Eddystone Point 2021 Pinot Gris

This is one of my favourite pinots gris from anywhere in Australia. If you enjoy your whites dry but with delightful sweet fruit then this might be right up your alley. A melange of pear, melon, peach and spice hints with plenty of length and vibrant acidity that has settled with a few months in bottle. This is ideal for post-work enjoyment or paired with poultry and vegetarian dishes. Lip-smackingly good. $32. www.eddystonepoint.com

Monday 20 June 2022

Domaine A 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon


Here is a treat for lovers of red wines with serious age and complexity. This was made by Domaine A founder the late Peter Althaus from cabernet grapes grown on the unique "hotspot" Stoney Vineyard sight in the Coal River Valley. Althaus's passion was Bordeaux-style reds and this is a wine of intrigue with a serious point of difference. Very savoury with secondary characters coming into play. It has been released when it is considered to be at its peak by Domaine A's new custodians at Moorilla and needs to be treated with respect - and preferably matched with food. $110.  https://domaine-a.com.au/

Monday 13 June 2022

Bay of Fires 2021 Riesling


Bay of Fires winemaker Penny Jones is one of Tasmania's most consistent producers of excellence; and riesling is perhaps the most under-rated grape variety on the cool Apple Isle, producing dry white wines of style and substance. A blend of handpicked fruit sourced from across the Tamar, Coal River and Derwent valleys, this is very pure and linear, with floral and citrus notes allied to brilliant minerality. Long, lovely and refreshing, it is an ideal partner for pan-fried flathead, or Bruny Island oysters. $46. www.bayoffireswines.com.au    

Monday 6 June 2022

Stefano Lubiana 2021 Primavera Chardonnay


Biodynamic, organic, vegan-friendly and seriously delicious - this new-release Tasmanian chardonnay is made for immediate enjoyment, and is seriously seductive in its youth. It is blend of fruit from different blocks on the Lubiana family's Derwent Valley estate, just 30 minutes north of Hobart. The fruit melange has seen some fruit given Austrian and French oak treatment, and some that was stainless steel fermented. This offers both citrus and stone fruit notes and surprisingly complexity for such a youngster. Pair this with an old school roast chicken for a palate-pleasing pairing. $38. https://www.slw.com.au/

Monday 30 May 2022

Trial Bay Estate 2020 Pinot Noir


This is the first vintage from Nick Kayes and his partner Saskia, the new owners of Trial Bay Estate, which is located at Kettering on the eastern shore of the d’Entrecasteaux Channel in southern Tasmania. It is a very pure wine from one of the best regions in the country for cool-climate pinot. Trial Bay Estate produces only pinot, with the original block of vines planted in 1997, with a second block of  planted in 2007. Organic practices are followed in the vineyard. From a cooler vintage this is vivacious and seriously slurpable with pure fruit characters and definite varietal character. Only 869 bottles were produced, so move quickly. $45. www.trialbayestate.com.au/

Monday 23 May 2022

Delamere NV Cuvée

Absolutely delicious cool-climate bubbles from one of the best producers in Tasmania for under $40. That's a win. Fran Austin and Shane Holloway at Delamere in Pipers River - in the far north of the state - are known for their range of excellent sparkling wines; and their attention to detail in both the vineyard and the winery. The quality of this NV blend underlines their commitment to quality with its impressively vibrant acid and food-friendly appeal. The 2014 yields, which comprise the bulk of this cuvée, were small, giving concentration of flavour. Think brisk Granny Smith apple, grapefruit and white pear flavours with a hint of brioche and honey. A perfect match for canapes or a mushroom tart. This was a big hit with my tasting group for its vibrancy. $40. www.delamerevineyards.com.au/

Tuesday 10 May 2022

Stoney Rise 2021 Savagnin


Joe Holyman may be best known for his structured and age-worthy pinots noirs, but he loves a little side project or two. This is a case in point, a crisp dry white made from the rare savagnin grape that originates in the Jura region of France. When savagnin was first planted in Australia it was mistaken for the Spanish variety albarino, but it  has now carved out a boutique niche on its own merits. This has a tropical fruit melange of aromas and flavours with some salty elements in the mouth. It paired brilliantly with a Thai stir-fried chicken dish and has impressive acidity and structure. $40. www.stoneyrise.com/  

Tuesday 3 May 2022

Kate Hill 2020 Shiraz


I have been doing some cellar door work for Kate Hill during the Covid lockdown. Consider me biased, then, but this is a super cool-climate shiraz from the Huon Valley, south of Hobart. Serious shiraz with a cheeky smile. Classic character with blackberry, white pepper and black coffee notes to the fore and well integrated smoky oak adding texture and complexity to the impressive tannin structure. Delightfully soft and a little shy in its youth. Give it time to open up in the glass and pair with dishes like lamb skewers, or vegetarian tarts. $55. www.katehillwines.com.au/.

Tuesday 26 April 2022

Pooley 2020 Oronsay Cooinda Vale Pinot Noir


Is this the finest pinot noir in Tasmania? It is certainly a serious contender for the title. Family-owned and -operated Pooley rarely put a foot wrong and produce several excellent pinots at various price points from their base in the Coal River Valley, where they have two estate vineyards. The fruit for this sophisticated, stylish and sensual wine is sourced from the older Cooinda Vale vineyard. Savoury characters and wild berry fruit notes co-exist harmoniously and the wine has excellent, understated structure aided by 50% new French oak. The RMS Oronsay, by the way, was the ship that brought the Pooley family to Australia in 1952. 97 points from me. $120. www.pooleywines.com.au/

Monday 18 April 2022

Frogmore Creek 2021 Riesling

Dry, food-friendly rieslings are perhaps Tasmania's best-kept wine secret. High in acid when young, they mature slowly and beautifully, offering softness at 2-3 years of age before developing secondary characters. This one from the Coal River Valley - just 20 minutes outside Hobart - stood out from the crowd when tasted recently and would be a delightful foil for some local pan-fried flathead, or fresh oysters. Think zesty citrus notes on the crisp, dry palate with some balancing stony minerality. Lovely drinking - perfect for a pre-dinner tipple. $35. https://frogmorecreek.com.au/  

Wednesday 13 April 2022

Craigie Knowe 2021 Estate Chardonnay


Tasmania is probably best known for its stellar pinots noirs and sparkling wines, but it also produces a wide range of excellent white table wines, including chardonnays and rieslings. This young chardonnay is a case in point, made from fruit grown on one of the cool Apple Isle's warmer sites on the East Coast on a vineyard planted in 1979 - positively ancient by Tasmanian standards. Well balanced at 12.9% abv, this is a classic cooler-climate chardonnay with stone fruit and citrus notes, a smidgen of oak and some bitey minerality. Pair with American-style pork ribs. Drink now or cellar short term. $38. https://craigieknowe.com.au/   

Tuesday 5 April 2022

Holm Oak 2021 Arneis


Arneis, also known as nebbiolo biancois an Italian grape variety from the Piedmont region. The name means "little rascal" because the grapes are often difficult to manage in the vineyard. In the Tamar Valley, in the north of Tasmania, it has proved a success for husband and wife team Tim and Bec Duffy at Holm Oak. This is a very good medium-bodied, food-friendly alternative to chardonnay with stone fruit characters and fresh appeal to the fore, along with impressive texture. Pair with veal dishes, or perhaps a pasta with mushrooms. $28. www.holmoakvineyards.com.au/

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Gala Estate 2020 "Emerald" Black Label Syrah


Tasmania is not always a happy hunting ground for shiraz. Some regions can be too cold to get the grapes ripe every year, and a few of the wines fail to hit the mark. This is very definitely an exception to that. A very fine medium-bodied shiraz from the warmer east coast, it has plenty of weight and length and is beautifully balanced. A serious food wine, this is varietal and stylish, made with a nod to the wines of the Rhone Valley, hence the use of syrah in the name. The family that owns Gala Estate has seven generations of farming experience and is planting new vineyards as the business expands. A wine producer to watch, with contract winemaker Liam McElhinney kicking a lot of goals. $65. https://www.galaestate.com.au/

Monday 21 March 2022

Glaetzer-Dixon 2020 Avancé Pinot Noir


Looking for a berry fruit-driven young pinot noir with energy and immediate drinkability? You've come to the right place. But Nick Glaetzer's Avancé also has the structure to cellar well in the medium term, should that be your preference. The entry level pinot in the Glaetzer-Dixon range, this is a blend of fruit from the Derwent Valley, north of Hobart, and the Tamar Valley in the north of state and is crafted at an unban winery in downtown Hobart. Soft tannins make it immediately approachable and food friendly. This is lively, vibrant and varietal and formidably good value at $34. https://www.gdfwinemakers.com/   

Monday 14 March 2022

Hughes & Hughes 2021 Chardonnay


Another winner from the Hughes brothers, who are among the shining lights of the wine industry in Tasmania. The Mewstone winery is at Tinderbox, south of Hobart, but this delicious young chardonnay is a blend of fruit from vineyards in the Coal River (Clarence House and Brinktop), Derwent Valley (Kinvarra) and the north-west (White Rock). It is 80% whole-bunch pressed, 20% cold-soaked on skins for five days, all naturally fermented in oak with partial malo and spent five months of lees. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered and is a thoroughly modern, lean and clean taste machine for enjoyment with perhaps a vegetable quiche or roast pork and all the trimmings. Serious satisfaction here. $37. www.mewstonewines.com.au/

Saturday 5 March 2022

Rivulet Wines 2021 Senko


This intriguing blend of pinot meunier from the Huon Valley and pinot noir from the East Coast is a recent release but it is already close to being sold out; no surprise given it is such a delightful lighter summer red with real personality. The name comes from a Japanese word meaning a light red, bright flash, or firecracker, Think florals, bright acid, dark cherries/cranberries along with mushroomy/undergrowth characters aided by old oak and lees maturation. There is a brightness and lightness to this beguiling wine. Great work from winemaker Keira O'Brien, but be quick. 94 points from me. $38. www.rivuletwine.com/

Sunday 27 February 2022

Resolution Vineyard 2021 Pinot Noir

From one of the tiniest vineyards in Tasmania - planted exclusively to pinot noir - comes one of the best-value boutique wines in the state. Resolution Vineyard owners Daniel and Caroline Lamont have had to increase prices due to rising costs, but this new vintage is another gem - well worth trying over the Open Vineyards Weekend. Resolution Vineyard is one of the southernmost vineyards in Australia and is closing in on 20 years since it was planted. This is an outstanding vintage that has lovely medium-bodied pinosity and is enjoyable in its youth while offering good cellaring prospects for a decade. Think dark cherry and berry notes and lovely balance at 13% alcohol. Resolution Vineyard is named after Captain Cooks HMS Resolution, which anchored nearby in 1777. $37. www.resolutionvineyard.com.au

Monday 21 February 2022

Freycinet Vineyard 2020 Riesling

Tasmania is much under-rated as a source of top-notch dry riesling. Freycinet Vineyard, on the warmer east coast, is one of the state's most reliable quality producers and this certainly hits a bullseye when paired either with fresh local seafood or spicy Asian dishes. Young Tasmanian rieslings can be ultra-high in acid when young, and in my opinion are in "the zone" at around two years of age. This is floral and elegant with some lively fresh citrus notes, mineral hints and plenty of length on the palate. Top-notch summer drinking. There is still some of the 2020 vintage available in retail outlet. $32. http://freycinetvineyard.com.au/  

Friday 11 February 2022

Stargazer 2021 Rada


Former Wirra Wirra and Tower Estate winemaker Samantha Connew is now firmly established in the Coal River Valley in Tasmania, where she is crafting a range of idiosyncratic and appealing wines. This is a wild-fermented blend of pinot noir and pinot meunier sourced from the Tamar Valley in the north and the Coal River in the south. It is vibrant and enticing and a perfect choice for a warm evening, perhaps slightly chilled. Juicy and crunchy with bright acidity on the palate, this would pair brilliantly with a gourmet pizza. Love the label artwork from Kate Pietukowski. $35. www.stargazerwine.com.au 

Saturday 5 February 2022

Russell & Suitor 2021 Sun of a Bull Sauvignon Blanc


There is an impressively high refreshment index to this delightfully vibrant new release from winemaker Alex Russell. The Son of Bull range includes a similarly high-speed riesling as a co-conspirator. This is very much on the tropical fruit/citrus side of the savvy spectrum and all the better for that as it finishes dry with crunchy acidity. Russell splits his winemaking talents between the warm Riverland of South Australian and cool-climate Tasmania and the fruit here was sourced from coastal Pipers River. Give this a nice chill and pair with seafood or beach picnic. Great value for $29. www.russellandsuitor.com.au/ 

Saturday 29 January 2022

Stefano Lubiana 2019 Collina Chardonnay


From one of the most beautiful vineyards in Tasmania, from a grower who is meticulous in his vineyard and also a winemaker of great skill comes a cool-climate estate chardonnay from a hillside location that is dignified, elegant and beautifully balanced. OK, there are the hipster inputs of compost teas, natural minerals and plant-based preparations, but the end result is a studious chardonnay with mineral and malo characters that would be best enjoyed lightly chilled with a poultry dish, or cellared for a year or two. Steely, linear, biodynamic, organic, vegan-friendly and bloody delicious. Made in tiny quantities. Be quick or miss out. $100. https://www.slw.com.au/

Sunday 23 January 2022

Holm Oak 2021 Protege Chardonnay


This is a very strong contender for the accolade of best-value chardonnay in Tasmania. From husband and wife team Tim and Bec Duffy in the Tamar Valley, it delivers a whole lot of drinking pleasure at a very fair price. This is reminiscent of a quality quaffer from Macon or the Cote Chalonaise with impressive aromatics and a blend of citrus and stone fruit on the palate together with some zingy acid. Fermentation in old oak is barely noticeable - this is all about the fruit and youthful appeal. Perfect for summer imbibing. I'd snap some up now. This won't last long. $25. www.holmoakvineyards.com.au/

Sunday 16 January 2022

Freycinet Vineyard 2018 Louis Pinot Noir

At a time when many Tasmanian pinots with lesser pedigrees are fetching serious prices, this "junior" offering from Freycinet Vineyard offers excellent value. Designed for immediate pleasure, or short-term cellaring, this is drinking beautifully right now and has beguiling quaffability and lovely balance between bright red fruit and savoury characters. Maturation in mainly older French oak barriques has added interest and there is a delightful softness on the finish. I challenge you not to empty the bottle once you have opened this; a wine that winemaker Claudio Radenti says can be enjoyed with or without food. $40. www.freycinetvineyard.com.au

Friday 7 January 2022

Pooley 2021 Cooinda Vale Pinot Noir Rosé


This is a quintessential summer wine; fresh, lively and perfect for country picnics. The Pooley family, among Tasmania's best premium producers, have probably never made a bad wine and this is made with the same care and attention as some of their premium pinot releases. Picked when it was very cool, this has perfumed aromas, a beguiling texture and a dry palate with "peach iced tea", raspberries and sea salt. Lovely balance; delicious refreshment. It may be a rosé, but it is a serious wine in the style of some Provencal pinks. $50.