Welcome to the North Part 1: Josef Chromy and Pipers Brook
A recent break in the north of Tasmania recently turned into a look at the wines of several estates around the region. Am I becoming one of those people who can’t have a holiday? In saying that, driving around tasting wines and enjoying the summer sun isn’t really work, is it? I am really not loving the 30+ degree days though – I’m built for winter, not summer. Straight from the air-conned car to the cellar door and back again is my recipe for surviving summer. Windows come down in the car when the speed limit is reached, and no sooner, lest I melt. Arriving at Josef Chromy vineyard in Relbia, just south of Launceston, it’s needless to say that the air-con was getting me through the 34 degree heat. Straight inside for a tasting.
The entry to the beautiful surrounds of Josef Chromy - all photos by my beautiful wife.
I’ve long held the Josef Chromy wines to be well made and always pleasing – the result of good investment in a hard-working and knowledgeable winemaker, a beautiful vineyard site and good winemaking technology. They make a large range of wines here, with the sparklings and the Chardonnay particularly shining. Well-presented wines and a welcoming and shiny cellar door, thought the weather brought many flocking in for lunch and a bottle of wine. We squeezed in for a tasting and were given a quick but good introduction to each wine. Scores are a guide to my tasting, as it was a little hectic and focusing on the completeness of the wines not perfect!
Josef Chromy Sparkling NV
Nice toasty aromas wafting out of the glass. Served a little too warm, but could be the result of the heat creeping in the sliding door to my rear. Subtle minerality and a good broad flavour to this wine. Finishes clean and a little briney with a touch of mouthwatering acidity. One of the most impressive wines of the tasting.
Josef Chromy 2010 Vintage Brut
Five years on lees for this wine, showing the beauteous effects of a long, restful sleep. More golden in colour than the NV as to be expected, a more complex and complete bouquet too. A burnt butter kind of flavour, lightly buttered toast, great linearity and acidity is sensational. Delicately toasty like the crisp layer on a well-toasted piece of white bread. Or something.
Josef Chromy Riesling 2014
A pumped-up Riesling here, it thrives in Tassie and seems to be thriving in the hands of Jeremy Dineen. Great citrus depth that I enjoy in Rieslings, lime cordial, lime zest and if possible, a sweet citrus note? Lengthy finish, holds on to add zip to the fruit-filled ride. Tightly held for now and will give more in time I would think!
The view from the deck, across the lake to the sloping vineyards. A wedding was under preparation on the deck on the far left of the lake.
Josef Chromy Pinot Gris 2015
I think this wine just needs to relax a little. It’s a bit tense, but inside its tight hold is a fairly luxurious wine waiting to come out and play. I felt like there was good potential here, once it releases the restraints. It’s dry, slight hints of richness inside its core, white stone fruits and notes of pot set honey. Will be better in a year or two.
Josef Chromy Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Someone once told me that the Sauvignon Blanc is the winemaker’s saviour and the winery owner’s reliable banker. It’s one of the first out of the winery and is generally a crowd-pleaser. There’s no cheapness or any attempts to feed the masses here, it’s quality through and through. Passionfruit and tropical exotica exudes luxury from the glass, but there’s depth here too. The cut grass in so many Sav Blancs is tied to the high quality fruit present. Elderflower notes top off a tasty and highly drinkable wine.
Another view of the beautiful lake across to the vineyards in the distance.
Josef Chromy Chardonnay 2014
A joy to behold this wine, more joyous to drink it. Subtle toastyness, fruit warmth and an image of basking in the glorious sun of spring (not summer – the heat!). Gives me a slightly itchy tongue which triggers my hand bringing the glass straight back to my lips. Could there be more joy here? Yes, the fruit itself, the core of the wine, is top notch.
Josef Chromy SGR Riesling 2015
High-toned citrus found in the standard Riesling, crisp but giving in mouthfeel, body and texture. Comparable to a Wehlener Sonnenuhr from the Mosel with its off-dry sweetness, lemoney slate thing and crisp, lengthy flavour. An entrée to the exotic flavours of plump Kabinett-style Riesling.
I can’t say much more than that the Josef Chromy wines are all very well made and great to drink. The winery also managed to keep down some of the high costs of making wine in Tasmania, and they are all very affordable for cool climate wines. Come and visit – the winery holds concerts and events – there was a wedding in preparation during our visit – and it’s a beautiful place to stroll around.
Stay tuned for northern exposure, part 2.