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Look who’s back: Wine Writings visits Pooley

One year ago today I reported from Pooley Wines about the new and exciting wines that they were releasing at that time. It seems like fate that I found myself back at Pooley in Tasmania’s Coal River Valley (and nearby Frogmore Creek) last weekend and thought it was high time to end Wine Writings’ hiatus. I’ve spent the last year pursuing other projects and expanding my vinous horizons, but I always knew I’d come back and continue reporting about wines I love (and don’t love so much) and why I love them (or not so much).

Wine is so often to be enjoyed over meals, with friends, as a couple, or even alone, with good music and a bright laptop screen. As such, I’ll be incorporating a good playlist and/or music selection to accompany these wines, if ever you choose to indulge in them. I also now score wines on a 5-star system. The Robert Parker famed 100 point system can in fact be quite arbitrary. Many people I speak to wonder how a wine can be given 92 points exactly, no more no less. I’ve taken this on board, and now score wines on 5 star system including half-stars. This is a guide to what I think the wine is like in terms of quality, but also how much you may enjoy it.

Pooley are doing some interesting things with their wines, including expanding in many different directions including producing more single-site wines and reserve selections. Right now, the wines I tasted showed great character, depth, and a real sense of cool climate winemaking. Stay tuned for more news, opinions and reviews from Wine Writings over the coming weeks.

I chose to taste a flight of Pooley Wines that showed me a good sample of their range but also a good range of variety.

2016 Pooley Pinot Grigio
Rather un-Grigio like here, with a more toned down dryness and fruit spectrum. Clearly shares its DNA with the Riesling produced here. Has a soft acid profile for a southern Tasmanian wine, but it’s present. Some matchstick character in the wine too, but build from the ground up for a good food pairing. Rather than music, one might enjoy this with a good sports game and a plate of pasta. RRP $36. 3*

2016 Pooley Riesling
Trophy for Best Riesling at the 2016 Royal Melbourne Wine Show. Lots of textural grip here, and some saline notes to give it some palate cut. Beautiful dried fruit notes mingle with soft flowers. It’s not a stern or acidic Riesling in any way. It’s actually very pillowy and welcoming, but could be laid down for a decade or more. Lots of enticing aromas on the nose, and this is yet another precisely measured Riesling from Pooley. RRP $36. 4*

2016 Pooley Gewürztraminer
Again clearly leaping from the same gene pool as the Riesling. The Pooley whites this year all show a welcoming drinkability allied with a serious winemaking edge that will impress devotees of Tasmanian whites. A good Gewürztraminer such as this cries out for Pork Dumplings (preferably fried), something I write often but is so true. Has a deceptively sweet nose but the palate is dry. Vividly evokes Alsace. Well done. RRP $36. 3*

2016 Pooley Cooinda Vale Chardonnay
I was able to get a sneaky peak at this. Again (something I noted in my last Pooley tasting notes) the Chardonnay formerly going to Penfolds’ flagship Yattarna is now being kept in-house. I am unsure what elements of Pooley’s Chardonnay were chosen, but Cooinda Vale is a warmer and drier site than the Butcher’s Hill block behind the Georgian mansion at Richmond. A toned-down use of oak here, although it is still present. A ‘judicious’ use, one might say. The wine itself is full-throttle, toasty, with that cold firm bread note of sourdough. The finish is long and exemplary. This wine could rock all night. Would be equally at home with Poison’s ‘Nothin’ but a good time’ or a string quartet in Burgundy. 4*

2015 Pooley Pinot Noir
A blend of sites: The Butcher’s Hill block, Cooinda Vale, and Clarence House site 19km or so south of Richmond. Clearly speaks of its varietal despite the various blended elements. Has a spicy element from the oak but also the fruit itself, like a dry spice rub. The wine also shows a savoury warmth, notes of mince pie or cherry pie, and a slightly mossy, forest floor type smell that wine writers might call ‘sous bois’. RRP $46. 3.5*

2015 Pooley Cooinda Vale Pinot Noir
Less dense in colour than the estate Pinot Noir blend. A nose of red fruit abounds. It’s clear and it leaps out at you from all different directions. In the mouth it has a really prominent velvet texture, so smooth. Tannins are also velvety, but also finely grained and finely woven. So tight. 10% of stems in the ferment give it an ever-so-soft funky element too. Well measured in all. Soundtrack: Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Superfly’. RRP $58. 4*

2015 Pooley Butcher’s Hill Pinot Noir
50% wild fermented – those indigenous yeasts doing their job well here. It’s a sophisticated mixture of cool collectedness and precise luxury. A true step up in complexity in both nose and palate from the previous two Pinot Noirs. Intense and slightly brooding, it covers its step with a deftness of touch. Fantastic structure and grip: it has the ability to be a long ager in the context of Tasmanian Pinot Noir. Lifted flowers on the nose, a smell of suede. Mouth-coating in all its beauty. This calls for Pavarotti’s ‘Nessun Dorma’. 4.5*

2013 Pooley Cooinda Vale Cabernet Merlot
Tasted this after a two hour decant. It benefitted from it, I believe. This has a good structure and also exhibits some of the velvet texture of the Pinot Noir, also from Cooinda Vale. A blackberry pancake nose which is quite novel and enticing. Also smells like five-spice and vanilla. The tannins which give the wine its structure are very well constructed and give a great framework to the wine in the mouth. Many people gloss over this when drinking cabernet. These tannins are also grainy but also have a slight dark chocolate note. Like it. 3.5*

I had a fantastic tasting at Pooley, which also confirmed for me the continued rise of this vineyard and the team behind it. It’s by no means a new winery, but they’re truly on the cutting edge of Tasmanian wine and while specialising in Riesling, the Pinot Noir – particularly the Butcher’s Hill – plays a starring role. They’re also proud of the wood-fired pizza here. Give it a go!

Cheers, and it’s good to be back.

Banner Image: https://www.amexessentials.com/top-gourmet-regions-australia/ 


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I think I was captured by how essentially natural or organic the whole process of winemaking is. It's farming, it's viticulture, it's weather and soil, and many more things. It's the winemaker. But after all these things, after the cap is unscrewed or the cork popped, I (and you) get to enjoy it. Then we talk about it and learn some more. Which is, I guess, the reason why you're here! Here you'll find stories, links, wine education samples and wine reviews. I am entirely independent and my wine reviews and ratings are based on my own thoughts and opinions. I accept no endorsements for products or good reviews. Enjoy! I can be reached for comments, feedback and questions at dbtaylor01@gmail.com. Good drinking to you! David

On the Hill of Corton

On the Hill of Corton


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