There is so much to love about Tasmania, stunning scenery, a gourmand’s paradise, a relaxed pace …. and some of the best wine in the world. The only thing is that often there is just not enough to make it out of the country, sometimes not even the state.
Tasmania is cool. After all, there is nothing between it & the Antarctic so logic dictates that there are some very interesting weather patterns here – primarily in the colder range of the spectrum. Being so southern in latitude also means that there is those long long ripening days with crisp nights. The formula for concentration & intensity with natural acid.
The official designation is of cool maritime climate, which lends itself to silky savoury Pinot Noir, intense, sometimes edgy Riesling & some of the finest freshest sparklings. Although it is unfair to make such generalisations, as there are distinct differences between the sub-regions of Tasmania. In the North there is the Tamar Valley & the North East, in the South – Derwent Valley, Coal River Valley & Huon Channel areas plus the East Coast & North West.
The unique & rich personality of Tasmanian wine cannot be contained in the bottle. There are so many stories to be explored.
For a start, it is home to one of arguably one of the finest cellar door experiences that you could ever expect. Not every cellar door has its own Museum of Old & New Art (MONA) complete with Greek artefacts amongst the Brett Whiteley’s & Kulik’s. Not to mention the stylish world class accommodation, The Pavilions, that overlook the Derwent, the fine dining experience plus a brewery & a ferry service. But Moorilla Estate has. The wine is not bad either. I will leave you to make your own decision though about their website www.moorilla.com.au which seems to be more art than useful.
Then there is Frogmore Creek who has been very active in diversifying their Riesling offering to include a 40 grammer (FGR refers to 40 grams per litre of residual sugar, the current version has 45) & an Ice Wine version. I will let you in on a secret, Tassie is cold but not so cold that this could be produced naturally. Then there is the unique personality of Domaine A & their cultish wines such Lady A Sauvignon Blanc & the Domaine A Cabernet Sauvignon with its 36 months in new oak.
The concern about climate & the expected changes that will radically change the Australian industry, has led to a bit a flurry of investment in Tasmania. The recent purchase by Shaw + Smith of the Tolpuddle Vineyard in the Coal River Valley was just the tip of the investment tree & most certainly will not be the last. Brown Brothers have recently purchased Tamar Ridge & Yalumba have added Dalrymple Vineyard to their stable already containing a Tasmanian, the Jansz brand.
These recent attentions will mean that Tasmania’s profile will only be on the rise. Now is the time to begin your own Tasmanian exploration. Here are some suggestions that will provide some great start points:
Domaine A ‘Lady A’ Sauvignon Blanc 2008 : Incredibly silky with a nose of apple with lemon & stonefruit. Finely textured with a fresh pineapple finish. An elegant & a gorgeous lady. $60
Grey Sands Pinot Gris 2008 : Incredibly expressive with juicy nutty pear character. Dry, linear acid with a long fine length. One of Australia’s finest Pinot Gris perhaps you could say ‘reaching some angelic heights’. $39
Tamar Ridge Kayena Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009 : Pretty floral cherry spice nose. With resonating intensity, an uber silky texture & a savoury finish, at around $30, this Tassie devil should be a staple in your repertoire.
Jansz Sparkling Rose 2007: So clever to make sure the colour matched the peachy pink of a ballet slipper with their current sponsorship of the Australian Ballet. The rich berry crème brulee that lingers fresh & satisfying is even more clever. Only 250 cases made, so get in quick. $45+