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 www.apogeetasmania.com.au   

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. https://henskensrankin.com/


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. http://freycinetvineyard.com.au/

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. https://sinapius.com.au/

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. ww.jansz.com.au/

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. www.katehillwines.com.au/   

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. https://www.meadowbank.com.au/ 

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. www.tolpuddlevineyard.com.au       

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. www.smallwonderwines.com.au/     

Tuesday, 10 January 2023

Moorilla 2011 Muse Pinot Noir

Many wine lovers to not have the time, energy or facilities to cellar their wine purchases for a decade or more. With this this cellar release from Moorilla the work has been done for them, with the wine released ready to drink after a decade in bottle. This is a classic aged pinot made from the winery block at Berriedale. It has some gentle raisined flavours, some herbal hints and plenty of intense palate interest. Obviously not one for lovers of vibrant fruit flavours with secondary characters taking charge here. Deli, tobacco, leather and earthy notes rule, but there are still flickers of bright acid. One for enjoying with poultry dishes, perhaps a pheasant if you'd like to splash out. $88. https://shop.moorilla.com.au/

Tuesday, 3 January 2023

Freycinet Vineyard 2021 Field Blend Rosé


Not your average rosé this one - but it is a delightful drink for enjoying well chilled, perhaps with some Lebanese dishes, over summer. From one of the best, and longest-established, vineyards on the East Coast of Tasmania - this is an unusual field blend of cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, cabernet franc and shiraz. It works brilliantly for those who enjoy their rosés dry and very savoury. More complex than  most rosés, it offers a range of earthy, minerally notes alongside the red fruit flavours; with a very brisk finish. Very quaffable. $30. http://freycinetvineyard.com.au/