Who makes it?
Andrew Pirie is one of pioneering winemakers in Tasmania, Australias island state. He started selling this Sparkling wine in 1999, while still owning the estates Pipers Brook Vineyars and Ninth Island. In 2010, Brown Brothers from Victoria on Australia’s mainland purchased Tamar Ridge which included the Pirie brand. (Andrew Pirie still does make sparkling wine under the brand name Apogee).
Pirie recognised that Tasmanian regions had to potential to produce outstanding sparkling wines, made in the tradition of the great Champagne. Winemakers such as Ed Carr, from the House of Arras, most certainly agree.
Brown Brothers were not strangers to producing sparkling wine and have continued the high quality that Andrew Pirie started.
How do they make it?
With the focus being on capturing fruit freshness, most of the fruit for this wine only ever sees stainless steel tanks until put into bottle. However, a small portion of the blend (10%) was fermented and matured in seasoned French oak.
After this first fermentation and that short maturation in oak, some previous vintage wines are added to the blend before bottling. The Pirie Non-Vintage is a traditional method sparkling wine. The same method used for making Champagne. Here the sparkling wines go through a second fermentation. This is where carbon dioxide is captured in the bottle. This produces those fine and delicious bubbles.
Unsurprisingly, the grapes of Champagne are used here. And to great advantage. The blend is 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir. The wine spends 3 years on lees before being disgorged and made ready for sale. Coincidently, Vintage Champagnes also rests three years on lees, so this should be considered a mark of the quality of this wine.
What does it taste like?
That extra time on lees gives this fizz a biscuity yeastiness. And a spiciness that underlines the apple and citrus crisp fruit. With elegant poise, it is vibrant and generous along the long length. As is often the case with a Tassie bubbly, there is a minerality on the palate too.
What to drink with it?
This is an excellent wine with some tempting morsels to start a meal. Nonetheless, it is also a good wine to enjoy with fresh seafood, or even some tangy feta tartlets.
A creamy bloomy cheese, for instance a brie or camembert, would be great. So would fresh cheese like feta or chevre.
Quickie review « A fizz that has quite the history. Finely tuned, ever so fresh and elegant. »
Country of Origin: Tasmania, Australia
Tasting Date: July 2021
Price: UK£27 | AU$35
Drink: now – 3+ years
Needs food: no
Like the sound of this Pirie Non-vintage, you might enjoy this wine from the House of Arras.
Visit Tamar Ridge for more information.
A little bit of history …..
Here’s a review of Pirie Sparkling NV from 6 May 2015:
Perhaps one of the reasons I like this fizz is that I am a Cheezel lover. Big time. Cheezels were the first thing that came to mind when I smelt this wine. Don’t worry though, no cheezels were harmed in the production of this wine. I have it on good authority that the smell is a product of the yeast that they use. However, there is plenty else to love about this wine and perhaps my nose is more attuned to the cheezel factor than most given my love of them.
There are also apples, buttery shortbread, lemon, nougat and some freshly baked bread. The bubbles are very finely textured and meld with the soft acid to keep the wine refreshing. It is a good Tassie fizz that keeps on delivering each mouthful. And it is good with food….