Thursday 16 May 2024

Glaetzer Dixon Family Winemakers 2023 Überblanc

Überblanc is winemaker Nick Glaetzer's Tasmanian tribute to the elegant style of rieslings made in Pfalz region of Germany - an area he worked in while learning his craft. Glaezter, who works from an urban winery in Hobart (visit if you get the chance), is best known for his red wines, but this has a cult following for its crisp but textural appeal. It is beautifully balanced with lees treatment adding to the mouthfeel and structure. Think citrus; think minerality, think immediate drinking pleasure. The fruit is a blend of 70% Tamar Valley from the north of Tasmania and 30% from the Coal River Valley outside Hobart. $30 each by the dozen from the webiste. We paired this with seared tuna and aubergine. It worked a treat. 

Thursday 9 May 2024

Holm Oak 2023 Chardonnay


Looking for a vivacious, cool-climate chardonnay that is very food friendly? You've come to the right place. Husband and wife team Tim and Bec Duffy have come up with the goods with this new-release Tamar Valley chardonnay that offers a lot of immediate drinking pleasure. Like most Tassie chardonnays, this is elegant and high in natural acidity. There is nice balance between lemon and white stone fruit characters while French oak and natural ferment are key elements in creating palate interest, along with partial malo and occasional lees stirring. There is youthful drive while the finish is driven by brisk acidity. Pair with poultry dishes for max pleasure. $40.

Thursday 2 May 2024

Stefano Lubiana 2022 La Roccia Pinot Noir

Stefano, Monique and Marco Lubiana are at the vanguard of organic and biodynamic winemaking in Tasmania. This is one of a trio of individual site pinots they release annually to demonstrate the difference that can exist between grapes grown on three different blocks, all within 500 metres of each other. This compellingly nuanced pinot is made from fruit grown on terra rossa soil with limestone chalk on their estate at Granton, north of Hobart and overlooking the River Derwent. It is a serious wine with plenty of depth of flavour and definite stony minerality. All three wines - the others are the Rusecllo and Il Giardino - are made using 100% whole bunch and wild ferment before being gravity filled into large format, mainly older, French oak. Unfined, unfiltered and deserving of at least five years in the cellar. $110.      

Thursday 25 April 2024

Moores Hill 2022 Pinot Noir


Solar-powered Moores Hill is a popular stop-off for anyone visiting the Tamar Valley with a cellar door that has great vineyard views and wines that offer good value for money. This is one of the rare pinots from Tasmania that sells for under $40. Pinot noir is a fickle, demanding grape and most Tasmanian producers are extremely small scale operations. This is a classic cool-climate pinot with cherry and wild strawberry aromas and flavours to the fore with just a hint of pepper/spice. Soft, easy drinking is on offer here with 30% new French oak, gentle plunging, 12 months maturation and vegan fining completing the package. Undemanding and serious fun. $40.

Thursday 18 April 2024

Kate Hill 2022 Sauvignon Blanc

This is a sauvignon blanc for people who might not be fans of the variety. I occasionally help out at Kate Hill's cellar door and find it appeals to a lot of folk who initially say: "I'll pass on the sauvignon blanc". With definite tropical fruit notes rather than green/herbaceous characters, it is a lovely wine for enjoying on the porch after work, or with a late-season picnic. The wine spent six months in aged oak barrels, so could legitimately be labelled as fumé blanc. Time in bottle has given it a bright but rounded finish. One of only a few savvy blancs in Tasmania and worth checking out. Serve well chilled. $33.

Thursday 11 April 2024

Frogmore Creek NV Ruby Pinot Noir


Given it is consistently the coolest wine growing region in Australia, Tasmania is not noted for its fortified wines. It is, in fact, surprising that a winter warmer like this exists at all. Winemakers Alain Rousseau and John Bown have crafted a drink that is ideal for enjoying in front of the fire on a cold Tasmanian winter evening. With 114 grams of residual sugar, this has Christmas cake and toffee notes. 100% pinot was fortified with premium brandy spirit and enjoyed extended barrel maturation using the Solera system over a 10-year period. $40 for 500ml.

Thursday 4 April 2024

Stargazer 2023 Riesling


Sam Connew's wine journey has taken her from New Zealand to McLaren Vale, the Hunter Valley and now Tasmania, where she is crafting outstanding wines from both her Coal River estate vineyard and some grower fruit. The 2023 vintage was a difficult one but several Stargazer releases shine, including this one, made from a grape that can produce outstanding wines in Tasmania but is often overshadowed by chardonnay and pinot noir. This single-vineyard release from Tea Tree has some apple and Asian fruit characters alongside the classic citrus notes and finishes with lively acidity and freshness and a hint of fruit sweetness. Wild ferment adds a textural element and there is plenty of length here. Pair with Thai or Korean dishes. $36

Thursday 28 March 2024

Chartley Estate 2023 Chardonnay


Chartley Estate is a small family-owned vineyard on the west bank of the Tamar River that is producing fruit of a very high quality. The talented Peter Dredge is on board as consultant winemaker, ensuring the wines are full of interest. The chardonnays, in particular, tend to sell out quick smart, and that is no surprise. This is medium-bodied and immediately approachable with French oak playing a minor support role on a palate where white stone fruit flavours are the driving force. There's plenty of length here, excellent drive and lots of enjoyment. Look for it in retail as supplies are low. $40. 

Thursday 21 March 2024

Josef Chromy 2023 Pinot Gris


I tried this a few months ago and enjoyed it. Tried it again at a function earlier this month and it had really come together as a deliciously cohesive drink that sits midway between pinot gris and pinot grigio stylistically. It proved an excellent match with finger food on a sunny day. Winemaker Ockie Myburgh has conjured up a cool-climate white with an edgy vivacity that has notes of stone fruit, green apple and subtle spices. It finishes fresh and clean and is definitely best enjoyed chilled. A terrific midweek choice. The Chromy cellar door and restaurant at Relbia, just down the road from Launceston Airport, is also well worth a visit. $36. 

Thursday 14 March 2024

Frogmore Creek 2023 Chardonnay

French-born Frogmore Creek winemaker Alain Rousseau has a natural affinity with the chardonnay grape, as is evidenced by his excellent new release I tasted through distributors Red & White. Made from chardonnay sustainably grown in the cool Coal River Valley, this spent 10 months in oak - no malo - and was released unfined to retain maximum character. This has some lovely, lively fresh white stone fruit flavours allied to some hazelnut characters and bright and breezy natural acid. It made a very amiable partner for a grilled pork chop. Terrific value. $38.  

Saturday 9 March 2024

Apogee Alto 2022 Pinot Noir

Over several decades in the Tasmanian wine industry, pioneering winemaker Andrew Pirie has always taken his craft very seriously. Pirie's obsession with minutiae means that his wines are always seriously good - as is the case with this new-release pinot noir from his tiny vineyard at Lebrina in the north of state. This is a classic,  aromatic and intellectual cool-climate pinot with layers of flavour across the palate. There are multiple textural elements in a wine which is already appealing, but I suspect will reward medium-term cellaring. Classic red fruit flavours lead the way here along with some gentle forest floor funk and soft but obvious acidity on the finish. French oak barrique maturation has added style and substance. Pirie suggests pairing with roast chicken, I went with roast lamb en croute. $65

Thursday 29 February 2024

Resolution Vineyard 2023 Pinot Noir

There are boutique wines, and there are boutique wines. They don't get much more niche than the Resolution Vineyard 2023 Pinot Noir - released this week from a one-hectare, pinot-only vineyard at Middleton in Tasmania's far south. This is so niche that only 50 cases were produced, so it might pay to be swiftly off the mark for this darkly coloured pinot with its dark cherry flavours and bright, crunchy acid on the palate; a wine that is full of youthful verve. It is made from vines that are now over 20 years old, grown on a hillside with views of Bruny Island. $45.

Thursday 22 February 2024

Stoney Rise 2022 Pinot Noir


It is hard nowadays to find a decent bottle of Tasmanian pinot noir for under $50. Production costs are high, most producers are small scale, and demand has rocketed over the past few years. Thank goodness, then, for Joe Holyman and his Stoney Rise label, which offers value with a capital V.  There is immediate drinking pleasure on offer here with a pinot made from a blend of 85% estate and 15% grower fruit. You don't need to think too much about this one; it is effortlessly drinkable with plenty of bright red fruit flavours and impressive drive. Maturation in old oak puncheons has added palate interest. The 2023 vintage has just been released but there should still be some 2022 in retail. $35.

Thursday 15 February 2024

Apogee Deluxe 2020 Vintage Rosé


Andrew Pirie has been at the pinnacle of winemaking in Tasmania for five decades and even though he has tiny production numbers under his Apogee label, his wines are always worth looking out for. This is an outstanding recent release sparkling rosé with impressive aromas of florals, red berries and flint leading on to a palate this is pure, delicate and dry. This is a blend of : 75% Pinot Noir, 17% Chardonnay and 8% Pinot Meunier that finishes mid-weight and flavoursome with what Pirie describes as a finishing "citrus tang". A perfect partner for poultry dishes. $82.

Thursday 8 February 2024

Bream Creek 2021 Reserve Pinot Noir

You can choose just about any Bream Creek wine to review: the quality is excellent across the board. From a purely selfish point of view I wish I had not opened this one, however. It is going to be even better in 4-5 years if you have the patience to cellar it. It is a powerful, concentrated cool-climate pinot that it is still a way from its prime. The Bream Creek team choose just 10% of their best fruit in barrel for this reserve blend - and it is a ripper. Pair with Chinese roast duck or pork. $70.

Thursday 1 February 2024

Craigie Knowe 2021 White Label Sparkling Rosé

This is summer in a bottle: a pale, fun but elegant rosé that delivers plenty of flavour and refreshment when served well chilled. It was one of the standouts at a Red & White trade tasting this week. It comes from a family-owned and -operated wine producer that was a pioneer on the East Coast of Tasmania 45 years ago. It is delicate, crisp and dry with strawberry and redcurrant flavours on the palate. Perfect as a aperitif, or perhaps paired with a prawn cocktail or seafood platter. $50. 

Thursday 25 January 2024

Josef Chromy 2023 Pinot Gris

Tasmania produces such outstanding sparkling wines, and table pinot noirs and chardonnays, that other varieties tend to sit in their shadows. Pinot gris is one such example, with this offering delightful aromas and textures from a winery that should be on the radar of any wine lover visiting Tasmania with its excellent cellar door and on-site restaurant. Think melon and stone/tropical fruit notes, a hint of spice and plenty of summer refreshment. Made 100% from fruit grown in the north of Tasmania, this can be paired with anything from dim sums to spicy Portuguese chicken. $35.

Thursday 18 January 2024

Domaine A 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon


This is definitely not what most wine lovers would expect from a Tasmanian red. It's made from cabernet sauvignon for heaven's sake. It is 10 years old and still on sale through cellar door. And it is a triumph for lovers of classic Bordeaux-style wines, a tribute to the foresight of the late Peter Althaus who realised that his little hotspot vineyard in the Coal River Valley could enable grape varieties like cabernet and merlot to shine on the Apple Isle. This is a mature textural and savoury wine, certainly, but it retains intensity and style alongside its secondary characters. Made with minimal intervention, this spent 30 months in French oak and was bottled unfined and unfiltered. It was brilliant with a chunk of Red Leicester cheese. $115. 

Thursday 11 January 2024

Bream Creek Vineyard 2022 Reserve Chardonnay


Looking for an excellent example of precise, pleasurable cool-climate Tasmanian chardonnay? This one delivers in spades. Fred Peacock and his team at Bream Creek on the Tasman Peninsula have built a formidable reputation for consistency and value - and this lives up to those levels. It is a serious wine made from the top 15% of the chardonnay produced. Think white peach, zingy grapefruit and well judged oak in a support role. Delicious with poultry dishes, this one. It is, sadly, sold out at cellar door but you might find some in retail outlets. It's certainly worth a look. Oh, and if you are in Tasmania, the Bream Creek cellar door is one of the best in the state. $50.

Thursday 4 January 2024

Holm Oak Vineyards 2022 Pinot Noir

Wine lovers across Australia just can't get enough of cool-climate pinot noir from Tasmania, with premium bottlings selling for three-figure sums and often sold out within a few months of release. From a small family-owned and -operated vineyard in the Tamar Valley this is undoubtedly one of the best pinot noir buys from the Apple Isle right now - it is delightfully varietal, very composed and excellent value. It paired brilliantly with some slightly runny Delice de Bourgogne cheese. Think black cherry and spice, hints of minerality and impressive tannin structure. Drink now, or cellar for a few years. $40.