Thursday 28 December 2023

Henskens Rankin 2014 Blanc de Blanc D2


Making traditional method sparkling wines is an expensive and time consuming process, which is why many of the sparkling wines in Australia are created by larger producers. But there are also mavericks like Tasmanian duo Frieda Henskens and David Rankin who make tiny portions of artisan sparkling wines - often in batches of fewer than 1000 bottles. I served sips of this to several wine lovers as a Christmas function and the almost uniform response was "absolutely delicious - but never heard of them". This is the second disgorgement of a 100% chardonnay-based bubbly that offers a delightful blend of zing, salinity and intensity. It finishes delicate and dry with florals, crisp green apple and lightly savoury notes to the fore. Delightfully different and perfect for New Year's Eve. $110.    

Thursday 21 December 2023

Hughes & Hughes 2023 Chardonnay


Jonny and Matthew Hughes are very much in the groove with their recent releases. Mewstone is the estate label and the Hughes & Hughes wines are made from grower fruit. This is a pretty stunning chardonnay that is a blend of quality fruit from the north-west and south of Tasmania. It ticks a whole lot of boxes; underwent natural ferment and then malolactic fermentation to add texture and palate interest, along with some lees aging. It is unfined, so retains a certain wildness, but also has classic citrus and stone fruit characters in impressive synchronicity. Fewer than a 1000 cases were made. $43. 

Thursday 14 December 2023

Stefano Lubiana 2022 Pinot Noir


Every wine that the Lubiana family make is excellent. The attention to detail; organic and biodynamic farming techniques and generations of experience are all key factors. This is a beautifully balanced cool-climate estate pinot noir that is grown, made and bottled on the family estate overlooking the River Derwent, 30 minutes north of Hobart. If you care, it is Vegan friendly, but more important to me is its varietal charm with berry and dark cherry fruit characters in harmony with savoury notes and subtle oak. Far too easy to drink. We paired it with a veal schnitzel, but it would also pair well with poultry, pork and mushroom dishes. $75.  

Thursday 7 December 2023

Devil’s Corner 2022 Mt Baudin Chardonnay


An impressively elegant cool-climate chardonnay with waves of peach, grapefruit and cashew flavours on the palate. This is a new addition to its premium range for East Coast-based Devil’s Corner but the fruit is sourced from sister winery Tamar Ridge’s Kayena vineyard in the north of the state. There is some deft work from winemaker Tom Wallace here, allowing the fruit to take centre stage. A wine with length and purity of spirit that could almost certainly age well but is delicious in its youth. $70. 

Thursday 30 November 2023

Two Bud Spur 2021 Gamay


It is a complete mystery why more Australians do not drink wines made from the gamay grape, particularly over summer when the variety can be enjoyed chilled. From a tiny vineyard in the cool Huon Valley, south of Hobart, this is a delightfully slurpable gamay that can happily be quaffed after a stint in the fridge. Unashamedly based on Beaujolais, this is fresh, fruity and refreshing and was fermented on skins and aged in barrel for 12 months. Think red berry fruit flavours and bright refreshing acidity. Well worth checking out. It pairs well with pizzas from the local Red Velvet Lounge eatery. $40.

Thursday 23 November 2023

Josef Chromy 2017 Brut Rosé Finesse


This was one of the affordable stars of the recent Effervesence sparkling wine festival in northern Tasmania; a pinot-dominant rosé blend with plenty of substance that offers a whole lot of drinking pleasure. Think red currant, berry and apple flavours with a clean, brisk finish. A blend of fruit sourced from the estate vineyard at Relbia - near Launceston Airport - this comprises 88.5% pinot noir and 11.5% chardonnay. There is no malolactic fermentation to ensure the retention of the acidity for potential long-term aging. Four years on yeast lees have built complexity so that this has enough power and personality to match most white meat dishes. Pop by and enjoy a bottle on site if you get the chance. It is a lovely setting. $50.

Thursday 16 November 2023

Trial Bay Estate 2022 Pinot Noir


The 2020 and 2021 pinots from Trial Bay Estate were very decent wines, but the new 2022 release takes things to a different level. This is a very impressive young wine from a boutique vineyard in the d'Entrecasteaux Channel, 30 minutes south of Hobart that is vinified by consultant winemaker Kate Hill. Owners Nick and Saskia Kayes, who purchased the property in 2019,  have worked hard on their vines and are reaping the rewards. with bright dark cherry flavours here and impressive structure. It's a real pinot, not a soft, dry red. Only 660 bottles were made, and I may just have purchased a couple of them. $55.    

Thursday 9 November 2023

Hughes & Hughes 2022 50% Whole Bunch Pinot Noir


Talented brothers Jonny and Matthew Hughes release their estate wines from the d’Entrecasteaux Channel under their Mewstone label and a dazzling array of small-batch wines made using grower fruit under their Hughes & Hughes label. This is made in tiny amounts but stands out from the crowd with its classic pinot flavours allied to crunchy texture. The fruit was sourced from the Clarence House vineyard in the Hobart suburb of Rokeby and was pressed to, and matured in, oak for 10 months (30% new). Bottled unfined and unfiltered it is a vibrant and expressive wine that is perfect for enjoying in its youth. A little raw, a little wild. A little Iggy Pop. $50.

Thursday 2 November 2023

Stefano Lubiana 2021 Syrah

If you consider Tasmanian wine you probably first think of sparkling wines, then chardonnay or pinot noir. But the island state is a lot more versatile than many give it credit for, and cool-climate, medium-bodied shirazes are increasingly finding favour with wine lovers looking for elegance over power and high alcohol levels. This is a very satisfactory Rhone-accented wine, hence the use of syrah, rather than shiraz, on the label. It ticks a lot of boxes being biodynamic, organic, and Vegan-friendly, and is made from 100% estate fruit grown on grey gravelly loam over gravel and red loam at the family estate at Granton, 30 minutes north of Hobart, overlooking the River Derwent. Soft, subtle, savoury and stylish. Perfect for your next dinner party. $70.

Thursday 26 October 2023

Invercarron 2023 Rosé


Invercarron may be one of the newer names on the Tasmanian wine map, but there is over 200 years of history behind the family project. The Jones family has been farming in the Jordan Valley, north of Hobart, since 1818. They planted vines on top of a hill overlooking the Jordan River in 2017 and are already being rewarded with some quality fruit. This rosé is made from 100% estate pinot noir fruit and is vinified at Ghost Rock in the north of the state, it is partially oak fermented in older barrels (40%) and lees stirred. It is aromatic with seductive strawberry and cream notes and is a perfect wine for enjoying chilled on a warm spring or summer day; fresh, vibrant and fruity, with a crisp, dry finish. We enjoyed this with a mild vegetable curry, but it would be equally good with a picnic, or some Lebanese treats. Very impressive. $32.

Thursday 19 October 2023

Moores Hill 2023 Riesling

Tasmania has a reputation for excellent sparkling wines, along with stellar cool-climate chardonnays and pinot noirs. Less well known are the Apple Isle's high-velocity rieslings, many of them alive with bright acid and lively citrus flavours. As this one is. It would be a very good partner for oysters, or some pan-fried flathead. Good work from new Moores Hill owners James Oliver and Constance Olivier, who arrived from the Yarra Valley to take over in the middle of last year. They have not missed a beat - maintaining Moores Hill's reputation as one of the stars of the Tamar Valley. $36.

Thursday 12 October 2023

Jansz NV Premium Cuvee


Looking for a high-quality Tasmanian sparkling wine at an affordable price point? This delivers in spades and would be perfect for a Christmas party, or a small gathering with friends. I tasted this with winemaker Jen Doyle recently and we agreed it is a perfect aperitif choice, with lemony citrus notes and just a hint of creaminess. It would be terrific with freshly shucked oysters, or hors d'oevres, with its freshness and vibrancy. Lovely stuff. Shop around and you'll find it for $30 or under.   

Thursday 5 October 2023

Dalyrymple 2022 PM Pinot Meunier


Dalrymple winemaker Pete Caldwell has a formidable reputation for high-quality chardonnays and pinot noirs, but this is his first release of a wine made solely from the third pillar of the Champagne triumvirate, pinot meunier, which rarely takes centre stage. Caldwell describes PM as "elegant, luscious, and seductive" and this is a wine for enjoying in its youth - it could even be lightly chilled over summer. The variety has clearly taken to cool-climate Tasmania, producing a bright, fruit driven wine with strawberry and raspberry flavours to the fore, along with some typically Tasmanian bight acidity. Oak plays a support role and malolactic fermentation has added to the texture. The recommendation is to enjoy it with lighter dishes or hors d'oeuvres, or as as a aperitif. Distributed by Negociants. $42.

Thursday 28 September 2023

Stargazer 2023 Tupelo

Stargazer is one of Tasmania's star boutique labels with winemaker Samantha Connew renowned for producing wines with plenty of palate interest and textural elements. Made in tiny quantities in a difficult year, this is an outstanding tribute to Alsace, a wild fermented white blend that features pinot gris, pinot blanc, riesling and gewurztramer as its key elements. There are waves of flavours on the palate, with ripe white pear, spice notes and honeyed characters, just a smidge of residual sugar, and plenty of length with a stylishly smooth finish. A white wine that red wine drinkers will love for its complexity. All the fruit is from the Coal River Valley, just down the road from Hobart Airport, delivered by several different growers. $35.

Thursday 21 September 2023

Holyman 2021 Chardonnay


It is always difficult deciding which of the Holyman/Stoney Rise wines to review. Joe and Lou Holyman are consistently excellent producers across both ranges. This is absolutely top-notch cool-climate Tamar Valley chardonnay; pure, precise and poised. There is plenty of action on the palate here with myriad flavours and textures, but the end result is impressively mellifluous. If you find some of this snap it up. It's in the zone. $60.   

Thursday 14 September 2023

Moorilla Muse 2018 Gewurztraminer

Moorilla winemaker Conor van der Reest likes to push the boundaries a little - and this is certainly not what you would expect in a 375ml dessert wine bottles. It is powerful. quiet dry white wine that has been fermented on skins with wild yeast and is made from very ripe fruit grown at the St Matthias vineyard outside Launceston. Perfect for pairing with pates, terrines, or blue cheeses, we matched it with a sweet and sour pork dish and it more than held its own: It is spicy, rich and intense and has been aged aged for five years in bottle. Higher in alcohol than most white wines and with Turkish Delight/musky aromatics on the nose and with viscous ripe tropical fruit flavours on the palate. Be adventurous. $25.

Thursday 7 September 2023

The Odd Couple 2022 Pinot Noir


When David Lloyd "retired" and sold his Eldridge Estate wine business on the Mornington Peninsula, he still wanted to keep his hand in. So he journeys to the US each year to make some vino, and also has a joint venture with his long-time friend Michael Twelftree of Barossa Valley producer Two Hands. Lloyd is now based in Tasmania and can oversee the 18-year-old Middle Tea Tree vineyard in the Coal River Valley from where the pair source fruit for their Odd Couple Pinot Noir. The wines are made at Twelftree's facility. The new-release 2022 is an absolute stunner; a gentle, delicate, elegant, nuanced and rather delicious cool-climate pinot that shines when paired with food. It becomes a tad sturdier 24 hours after being opened. $65. 

Thursday 31 August 2023

Kate Hill 2022 Shiraz

Kate Hill is based in the Huon Valley, south of Hobart, but in addition to her estate vineyard she also sources grapes from around the south of the state and has the luxury of several regular growers providing her with excellent fruit. Although she has a small shiraz block on her home vineyard, the fruit for this excellent new release is sourced from the Coal River Valley, close to Hobart Airport. This is a medium-bodied with classic cool-climate characteristic, laden with savoury and spice notes but beautifully balanced. I've done some work with Kate (disclaimer) and know that she is very proud of the quality of this wine. Pair it with some roast yearling lamb for a special treat. $65.      

Thursday 24 August 2023

Jones & Jones Invercarron 2022 Pinot Noir


When Tasmania finally decides to introduce regional appellations, Invercarron wines might merit one to themselves. The Jones' family vineyard is the only commercial one in the Jordan Valley, near the hamlet of Broadmarsh, north of Hobart. The Jones family has farmed in the region since 1818 and planted vines just six years ago . The wines are made at Ghost Rock in the north-west of the state due to a family connection - and have built a keen local following in a short time. This new-release pinot is in the zone for immediate enjoyment with bright varietal fruit characters and delightful balance. It has soaked up the 30% new French oak and is very pure, very precise unmistakeably from a cool site - but all the better for that. I'd pair with roast chicken. A solid 94 points from me. $45.

Thursday 17 August 2023

Lost Farm 2023 Sauvignon Blanc


Lost Farm is the name of the Tasmanian project of South Australia's Angove family - it does not have anything to do with the golf course. This is a very fresh and lively 2023 sauvignon blanc with the grapes sourced from two vineyards in the north of the state: one at Relbia, south of Launceston, and the other in the West Tamar. It paired impressively with a pork mince and aubergine stir-fry with its zingy fruit flavours and crisp acidity complementing the spice of the dish. Sauvignon blanc in Tasmania typically has more tropical fruit flavours than herbal ones; and that is certainly the case here. The price is very reasonable, as well. $28.    

Thursday 10 August 2023

Stefano Lubiana 2022 Estate Chardonnay

Wines from the Lubiana family always demonstrate their attention to detail. They are rare among Tasmanian wine producers, committing to certified organic and biodynamic methods that result in wines of great precision across the board. This is a beautifully structured new release with some impressive balance, cool-climate varietal character and immediate drinkability. It is 100% grown, made and bottled at the family's estate at Granton, north of Hobart, which overlooks the River Derwent. This is very food friendly with its stone fruit and almond meal elements and textural appeal and would pair brilliantly with dishes featuring pork or poultry. Elegant and impressively focused. And also Vegan friendly. $75.  

Thursday 3 August 2023

Henskens Rankin 2015 Brut Rosé


Frieda Henskens and David Rankin do not own a vineyard, or a winery, but they do craft some of Tasmania's most exquisite small-batch sparking wines. They started Henskens Rankin in 2010 and remain tiny, producing artisanal wines for aficionados. They were only 500 bottles of this wine produced - and its complexity and freshness impressed my tasting group last month. Made in a consciously aperitif style, this is perfect for pairing with finger food with its wave of floral and fruit flavours that waft across the palate. It has spent seven years on yeast lees, gaining complexity along the way, and it is beautifully balanced. Priced as a special occasion treat. 94 points from me. $95.

Thursday 27 July 2023

Delamere Vineyard 2022 Pinot Noir


Delamere duo Fran Austin and Shane Holloway are nowadays concentrating a lot of their efforts on a stellar range of sparkling wines, but their table wines are also well worth sampling with this new-release pinot noir a case in point. This is unmistakeably cool-climate pinot from the Pipers River region in the north of Tasmania, with more than a nod to the elegant pinots of Burgundy. It is taut and restrained and designed to be enjoyed with food, preferably roast duck, and would certainly reward patience if you opt to cellar it. This was hand-picked, fermented in open-topped vessels and matured in Burgundian oak. Think red fruits, tight structure and the tiniest hints of spice. Seriously good and destined to get better. $70.         

Thursday 20 July 2023

Kreglinger 2018 Rosé


Kreglinger is the umbrella company of leading Tasmanian wine brand Pipers Brook. It is also the brand name used for the company's premium sparkling wines made from grapes grown close to the north coast of Tasmania. Bright mousse with rose petal and raspberry notes, along with some savoury elements on the palate, create a drink that is full of interest. It is made from pinot noir from a single site and offers more depth than a lot of bubblies. This could be an aperitif, but has the structure and complexity to pair with poultry and white meat dishes. There is a lot of drinking pleasure here. $75.  

Thursday 13 July 2023

Stoney Vineyard 2022 Pinot Noir


Stoney Vineyard is part of the Domaine A operation in the Coal River Valley that is now owned and operated by David Walsh and his Moorilla team led by winemaker Conor van der Reest. This is a lovely new release with an eye-catching label. It is full of youthful vivacity and designed for immediate enjoyment. This is the first Stoney Vineyard pinot made entirely from estate fruit sourced from young vines. It is designed to provide a brighter, fruitier and less spicy style.. The palate offers plenty of varietal black and red fruit flavours, along with a perky minerality that reflects the site. Soft tannins and bright acid on the finish. Extremely good value for $39   

Thursday 6 July 2023

Stoney Rise 2022 lutruwita Chardonnay


The newest releases from Joe Holyman are very much on target and this has to be one of the best-value Tasmanian chardonnays around. Tasted blind you might think it comes from Saint Véran or Pouilly Fuissé rather than Gravelly Beach in the Tamar Valley. It is a very sophisticated, if still youthful, little package. Think zingy melon and grapefruit flavours, some lemon zest, subtle oak and immediate pleasure. Hints of cashew nut notes and flinty minerality are part of the package. Joe recommends enjoying with "speed metal and friends", whereas I would go with roast pork and glamazons. Different strokes. The retail price on the website is $32 - which is remarkably cheap. Snap some up before they change their minds.

Thursday 29 June 2023

Holm Oak 2022 The Wizard Chardonnay

There is a fascinating story behind Holm Oak's flagship chardonnay (see for details) - but it is also a wine that stands out from the crowd when it comes to quality. It is an elegant but assertive cool-climate chardonnay from the Tamar Valley in the north of Tasmania that has been given the bells and whistles treatment by winemaker Bec Duffy. Think full barrel fermentation, 75% new French oak along with 75% malolactic fermentation and you have a wine with classic chardonnay stone fruit richness, minerality and impressive toasty oak that is well integrated. Pair with a lobster mornay, or a roast chicken with herb stuffing. Be quick, because only four barrels were made. $65.

Thursday 22 June 2023

Freycinet Vineyard 2019 Pinot Noir


So you love red Burgundy but simply cannot justify the prices? Here is a Tasmanian pinot noir alternative that is simply delightful. From winemaker Claudio Radenti and his talented team on the East Coast - and with a current release that is four years old - this will be a delightful discovery for anyone not au fait with Freycinet Vineyard's excellence across the board. Ripe red berry fruit and dark cherry flavours combine with classic savoury/undergrowth notes, and the complex palate is velvety and lingering with sweet oak playing a key support role. Terrific now - and certain to cellar well. I'd pair this with Chinese roast duck, or fricassee of mushrooms, but the winemaking team suggests matching with with roast veal. It would also be an absolute treat with a gourmet burger. Sold out at cellar door, but worth searching for online. $70.

Thursday 15 June 2023

Quiet Mutiny 2022 Venus Rising Pinot Noir


Quiet Mutiny is one of several artisan producers in Tasmania with an avid local following that fly under the radar for most mainland wine lovers. The brand, currently starring at the Dark Mofo festival, is the personal project of Greer Carland, who has made wine for several high-profile island producers. Her father owns the Laurel Bank vineyard in the Derwent Valley, but this delightfully composed young pinot uses fruit from the nearby Coal River Valley. Varietally expressive and aromatic, but enticingly soft and supple, this is a high-quality cool-climate pinot. $55.

Thursday 8 June 2023

Bream Creek Vineyard 2022 Sauvignon Blanc


Tasmania is best known for its cool-climate chardonnays and pinot noirs, as well as some stunning sparkling wines. What is less recognised is its ability to produce excellent whites made from riesling, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris. This is a delightful sauvignon blanc from a vineyard on the south-east coast of the Apple Isle that is on the tropical fruit side of the flavour spectrum; aromatic with stone fruit and banana notes, an appealing freshness on the palate and very brisk acid. It is a wine that can be enjoyed as a post-work palate pleaser, or with a range of seafood dishes. It would be a fabulous foil for a traditional Tasmanian scallop pie. Very good value for $31.

Thursday 1 June 2023

Simha 2022 Nature Pinot Noir


Nav Singh frim Domaine Simha relishes doing things a little bit differently. His Tasmanian wines are always challenging and interesting, with this young pinot made from a single vineyard at Meadowbank in the Derwent Valley no exception. If you enjoy lighter, complex and elegant pinots in the Burgundy mould then this will be right up your street. Just 1500 bottles were produced utilising fruit grown using biodynamic principles and undergoing whole bunch wild ferment, and pigeage before spending two months on skins and a year in large format French oak. Aromatic, compelling, basket pressed and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Lovely stuff. $55.

Thursday 25 May 2023

Stoney Rise 2022 Trousseau


Joe Holyman likes to march to the beat of a different drum. His wine range includes varieties like gruner veltliner and savagnin, both rare in Tasmania, along with the extremely unusual trousseau, a French red grape from the Jura region that is also known as bastardo. This sits somewhere between pinot meunier and grenache when it comes to weight, so it is a bright, juicy style of wine - and very food friendly. The grapes were 100% estate grown in the Tamar Valley, from young vines and the wine was aged in clay amphora pots prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Fresh and fruity with red cherry notes, but with some added power from a warm year. Holyman reckons you should pair this with a tuna steak, or cheese kransky. He might be joking; but maybe not. $40.

Thursday 18 May 2023

Moores Hill 2022 Reserve Pinot Noir

Balance is a key factor when it comes to pinot noir. And this new release from Tamar Valley standout Moores Hill has impeccable balance. James Oliver and Constance Olivier haven't missed a beat since taking over the vineyard and business from the Allport family last year - and this is a delightful example of complex, complete cool-climate pinot. It is made from three barriques that stood out from the rest despite containing fruit from vines under a decade old. There is everything you'd look for in a young wine here; dark fruit and earthy aromas, palate intensity with black fruit and spice notes, along with a soft finish. Lovely stuff. $65.

Thursday 11 May 2023

Bubb + Pooley 2022 Chardonnay


Bubb + Pooley is the private label, or "side hustle", of winemaking duo Justin Bubb and Anna Pooley, designed as a space where they can expand their stylistic boundaries. This an excellent example of Coal River Valley chardonnay made from fruit grown by one of their friends. The grapes were fermented and matured in a "spherical concrete vessel" and French oak barriques, The end result is both vegan friendly and unfined. There was partial malolactic fermentation, but this wine is all about the freshness and purity of the cool-climate fruit. There is a lovely vibrancy and bright acid here. If you love white Burgundies then this will be right up your alley. $65.

Thursday 4 May 2023

Chatto 2022 Bird Vineyard Pinot Noir


In addition to the outstanding pinot noirs from their Isle vineyard in the Huon Valley, Jim and Daisy Chatto also produce a limited-release range of pinots made using fruit from different vineyards around Tasmania. There are tiny amounts of the delightful Seven Inch pinot from a minuscule vineyard overlooking the Huon; the darker, more muscular Killara from the Coal River Valley, and the lutruwita, a lovely blend of fruit from several different vineyards around the state. If you like your pinots light and ethereal, this is probably the one for you: made from fruit grown on a Pipers River vineyard planted by Tasmanian pioneer Dr Andrew Pirie in 1998, Bird is a red-fruited single clone (214) wine with hints of spice on the nose and wonderful length and purity. Be quick, all these wines are in very short supply. $70ish.

Thursday 27 April 2023

Bream Creek 2022 Estate Pinot Noir


For almost 50 years Bream Creek has been delivering great value wines from the south-east corner of Tasmania. The estate vineyard overlooks Maria Island. This is a classic cool-climate Tassie pinot without the price tag of some of its Apple Isle compadres. There is an aromatic nose of dark fruits and spices, which leads on to a palate alive with vibrant cherry, plum and berries flavours. This finishes long and has an impressive tannin structure which suggests cellaring potential. But why wait? It is delicious now with a lamb backstrap, or perhaps a platter of Tasmanian cheeses. $45.

Thursday 20 April 2023

Brown Brothers 2021 Patricia Chardonnay


Brown Brothers, one of Australia's leading family wine producers, has made a major investment in Tasmania. Not only does it own and operate labels including Tamar Ridge, Devil's Corner and Pirie, it is also now sourcing Tasmania fruit for wines including its own high-end sparkling wines, and for this exquisite chardonnay, which is made from fruit grown on the the East Coast and the Tamar Valley. Only released in outstanding years, this vintage was whole bunch-pressed and barrel fermented but the stellar cool-climate fruit remains the star turn. Vibrant but impeccably balanced, it is elegant, with bright acid, citrus and white stone fruit notes. French oak sits in the background and the wine has a lovely mouthfeel. Worth a splurge, perhaps for Mother's Day. $60.  

Thursday 13 April 2023

Delamere Vineyard 2021 Pinot Noir


Family-owned and -operated Delamere is a Pipers River producer that has built a formidable reputation for consistent quality. I'm a little bit late reviewing this excellent pinot crafted by Shane Holloway and Fran Austin with their website showing the remaining bottles at the winery are only available for club members. That said, some rooting around at quality wine retailers might pay dividends. This is a classic cool-climate pinot with red berry fruits to the fore, with hints of minerality and spice adding to a complex palate. This a 100% estate wine and is designed to be enjoyed with food, perhaps duck or quail would be the best partners. Given this fast-rising prices for high-end Tassie pinots, this is very fairly priced at $65. 

Thursday 6 April 2023

Pirie Tasmania 2011 Late Disgorged


Pirie remains a shining light in the Tasmanian sparkling wine sphere, even though founder Andrew Pirie departed years ago. This is one for aged sparkling aficionados, having been recently disgorged after spending a decade on yeast lees. That results in a melange of complexity and freshness with classic citrus and brioche notes on the nose. A traditional golden blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, it has length and depth, meaning it is a pleasing partner for a range of cuisines. It comes in a special presentation box, making it an ideal present for any lover of mature bubbles - but it is not for everyone. Winemaker Tom Wallace only produces this cuvée from outstanding vintages. $145.  

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Stefano Lubiana 2021 Ruscello Pinot Noir

Steve and Monique Lubiana have spent three decades working out the intricacies of various micro-sites in their Derwent Valley valley vineyard. The three wines in the single block pinot noir range have been selected for the way they reflect their specific soil types; a former market garden site (Il Giardino), a limestone rock shelf in the middle of the block (La Rocchia) and a block located alongside a small winter creek (Ruscello). For me the Ruscello is the winner in 2021, producing a very elegant, stylish pinot noir that shines with food. All the wines are grown and made biodynamically, organically and vegan friendly - the Lubianas were the first winery to be certified biodynamic in Tasmania. A fascinating exercise. $85. 

Monday 20 March 2023

Moorilla 2017 Cloth Label White

This is something a little bit special from Conor van der Reest and the team at Moorilla. Stylish and complex on the palate, this is a blend of six grape varieties grown at the St Matthias vineyard in the north of Tasmania - and even includes some pinot noir to add palate interest. The field blend includes riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, gewurztraminer, pinot gris and 11% pinor noir, creating a wine that reflects the terroir rather than varietal characters. There is a rich palate thanks to some skin contact, but that is matched by some crisp acid. The wine was bottled in 2018 and has been maturing until its recent release. Buy one for now, and one for later. Just 161 cases were made. $75.     

Tuesday 14 March 2023

Apogee 2022 Alto Pinot Gris


No one knows more about viticulture and winemaking in Tasmania than Andrew Pirie, who has launched several brands over the decades but now concentrates his efforts on his own tiny Apogee vineyard in the north of the state. This is consciously made in an Alsace pinot gris-style with a focus on a soft, dry, stylish and slightly creamy palate impact. It is textural and well-rounded thanks to a partial malolactic fermentation, but also very pleasurable with fragrant aromas on the nose, pear notes, minerality and a well-balanced palate structure that suggest medium-term cellaring will be rewarded. $47   

Tuesday 7 March 2023

Henskens Rankin 2012 Vintage Brut

Since 2010, Frieda Henskens and David Rankin have been crafting tiny amounts of potentially long-lived sparkling wines made from tiny parcels of cool-climate Tasmanian fruit. These are not wines for everyone - but they are much in demand by aficionados with their rare blend of freshness and power. This is a blend of 70% chardonnay and 30% pinot noir and one of only 1400 bottles made. Each vintage spends a minimum of six years on yeast lees and are then further aged under cork. The fruit is sourced from across Tasmania: the Tasman Peninsula, Coal River Valley and Tamar Valley. A stylish sparkling wine for enjoying with friends .$95.


Tuesday 28 February 2023

Freycinet 2021 Botrytis


My wife made a delightful plum crumble using fruit from our garden, and this delicious "stickie" from the East Coast of Tasmania was an excellent partner for it, with its delightful sweetness allied to bright acidity on the finish. With a distinctive label by the late Tasmanian-based artist Tom Samek, this is an unusual blend of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, schonberger and riesling grapes. It a fresh and vibrant dessert wine with sweet citrus and stone fruit flavours, but it would also work well as a counterpoint to pates, terrines and cheeses. Stunning value at $35 for 500ml.

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Sinapius 2022 Esmé Gamay

This is the perfect lighter-style red wine for enjoying chilled with a light lunch on a warm summer day. I know, because I had a couple of glasses over lunch last week and was mightily impressed. I'm always surprised we don't see more gamay in Australia - the Beaujolais grape is ideally suited to our lifestyle - and Linda Morice has certainly cracked the code with the a wine that has delightful vibrancy. The fruit is estate grown at Pipers River in a high-density vineyard, and underwent whole-bunch carbonic maceration for three weeks before being matured in large format oak for seven months. It is unfined and unfiltered. Think fresh red berry characters along with lovely length, bright acid and palate persistence. $42.

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Jansz 2014 Late Disgorged Vintage Cuvée


Tasmania is well known for producing many of Australia's finest sparkling wines - and this small-batch release from Jansz is right up with the best of them, offering delightful freshness (thanks to recent disgorgement) allied to palate complexity (from years of bottle development). This wine is only made in the best vintages with a few bottles held back to age for an extra four years for added depth of flavour. A traditional blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, this is a Tasmanian classic at a very fair price. $60.

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Kate Hill 2022 Sauvignon Blanc


Sauvignon blanc is back baby - thanks to cool-climate wines like this one that have turned down the herbaceous dial and upped the tropical fruit flavours a tad. I do occasional shifts at Kate Hill's cellar door (bias declared) - and this recent release has surprised quite a few tasters with its immediate accessibility and appeal. It spent six months in aged oak barrels to add textural elements, but retains fruit-driven appeal with minerality, tropical and citrus notes and just a hint of toasty oak. One for enjoying chilled on a warm day, matched with seafood or salads. $33.   

Tuesday 31 January 2023

Meadowbank 2021 Pinot Noir


If your tastes veer towards serious, cellar-worthy pinot noir then this will be right up your street. The Meadowbank vineyard in the Derwent Valley has an excellent pedigree and produces fruit for some of Tasmania's highest-profile producers. Grower Gerald Ellis and his family are fanatical about quality - and have been growing grapes since 1976 - and can also call on the talents of winemaker Peter Dredge. This is still very tight, but is delightfully varietal and has a terrific future. The family say it reflects one of their best-ever vintages, but stocks are low. $60. 

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Tolpuddle 2021 Pinot Noir


Is this Tasmania's finest pinot noir? Almost certainly. I tried it a few weeks ago and it was excellent but when I tried it again at the weekend it was magnificent. A few extra weeks have allowed it to come together as the complete cool-climate pinot noir package. An estate wine from perhaps the most pampered vineyard in Tasmania - in the Coal River Valley - this is made by a team of pernickety experts. It delivers classic aromas and tantalising flavours, balance, immediate drinkability and cellaring prospects. For those looking tick hipster boxes, it is vegan-friendly, organic and made sustainably. One of those rare wines that is worth every cent of the $96 asking price.       

Tuesday 17 January 2023

Small Wonder 2022 Sauvignon Blanc


Small Wonder is the new iteration of Tamar Valley producer Goaty Hill. Same vineyard, same cellar door, but new owners and a new winemaker, along with some eye-catching new labels. This is undoubtedly one of the best sauvignon blancs in Tasmania, having already collected a show trophy. It is made from vines that grow on granite soils and there is some ripe, tangy fruit along with herbal hints; a fabulous wine for enjoying well chilled with a Tassie crayfish, perhaps. Food friendly - and summer friendly, too. $32.