Tasmania’s Red Wine Showcase
Along thousands of other eager red wine drinkers, I attended the Tasmanian Red Wine Weekend at Princes Wharf in Hobart last weekend, opposite the convict-built Salamanca Place. A day when the sun shines but the weather is cold is absolutely the time to be indoors sampling the best and the newest of Tasmania’s red wine offerings (especially when that annoying windy drizzle is blowing about). As you would expect, Pinot Noir was very much to the fore.
Of the 50 or so producers showcasing wines, probably 75% of the show comprised Pinot Noir, Tassie’s pride and joy. It’s funny that earlier in the century – and indeed early in colonial times when plantings were sparse – some thought Cabernet would be Tasmania’s premier grape. It turns out the Tassie’s Cabernet (except in exceptional sites) can often by slightly green or stemmy, without that slight bit of warmth in our climate that can really bring about amazing Cabernet. Merlot is also a very atypical grape for this state, but producers are nevertheless giving it their best shot. So, without further ado, here is my best and honourable mentions from the show. Note that scores and tasting notes were made live at the event, and so in a blind tasting or a more suitable environment these scores may vary. Therefore, scores are given as guidelines only!
Moores Hill Pinot Noir 2014, RRP around $35
Very fragrant on the nose – this is a very young Pinot but nevertheless showed hints of the amazing flavours that will emerge in the next few years. A long and persistent palate and finish combines with a soft oaky touch to make this a clean and expressive wine. I could do with oodles more of this. Readers will know that I adore the Moores Hill Chardonnays, so they’re obviously doing something right here. 2014 a lower yielding year, so pick your producers carefully for top flavour.
Kilbowie ‘Kettering’ Pinot Noir 2013, RRP around $25
Dark, strong, and individual would be the best words to describe this unique and – to me at least – undiscovered wine. Bitter like a hit of 60% cocoa dark chocolate, but with a potential for a great full development of flavour in the coming years. 2013 was a very good year for Pinot, perhaps not as amazing as 2012 in some places but is producing great wines. At around $25 this is a fantastic choice for those lovers of more fuller-bodied wines.
Gala Estate ‘White Label’ Pinot Noir 2013, RRP around $28
Light and subtle on its feet, the treatment of this wine has been done superbly. From the use of oak to the fruit quality and winemaking, this has all come together really well in a great value package.
Milton Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013, RRP around $34
Amazing soft chalky finesse to this wine, with absolutely top notch tannin structure. The flavours are long, lingering and persistent, and this really does evoke hints of some of the top Pinots out there. There’s enough earthiness to please some, and enough purity to please others. Also this is one the slightly larger bodied side.
Marion’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013, RRP around $35
One of the older vineyards in this area, this is on the full end of full-bodied. A fabulous ripe cherry flavour, with briary notes carrying the taste. There is a top not structure to this wine also, and it fills the mouth with an elegance that puts it up into a higher point bracket for me. Find this wine and give it a go!
Piper’s Brook Estate Vineyard, RRP around $42
Again from an older Tasmanian planting, this is as good as top level Tasmanian Pinot. Full of savoury and sweet flavour at the same time, this is combined with fleshy fruits and smells of some bbq meat flavours, without losing the typical cherries and raspberries.
Gala Estate ‘Silver Label’ Pinot Noir 2012, RRP around $37
A notch up again from the ‘White Label’, full-bodied and more burgundy than Tasmania. Cherries and mushrooms on the hose, lovely acid balance for the larger body. Great fruit and length in combination – you will savour this one!
Heemskerk Pinot Noir 2012, RRP around $55
Worth every penny of the higher price, and like the higher-scoring wines here, from the 2012 vintage. Having had a couple of years in bottle, these wines are now showing beautifully. Medium body but with complexity of fruit, the aromatics match sincerely and wonderfully with the palate. Exceptional quality.
Devil’s Corner ‘Mt Amos’ Pinot Noir 2012, RRP around $65
From the top 2012 vintage again, this is a classy Pinot. The higher bracket up from their standard Devil’s Corner Pinot, this has received extra treatment and is made for serious aging. Highly concentrated, you could let this age 5-7 years.
Domaine A Pinot Noir 2009, RRP around $90
This still has a concentrated colour despite its age. Pinot lovers looking to explore aged Pinot flavours should get a handle on this wine. Intense, full and flavoursome, its tannin structure leads to a long finish that should see it cellar-worthy for another 3 or 4 years, or perfectly drinkable now.
Domaine A ‘Petit a’, RRP around $55
Very floral with exotic spices in the mix. It has a powerhouse flavour wrapped in a velvet glove. Beautiful cassis flavour and long aging in oak has amplified the great tannin structure.