Good vine age, winemaking experience and ideal climatic conditions. These are just some of the key ingredients that have recently coalesced to make Tasmania arguably the most exciting pinot noir producer in Australia at the moment.
Last year the Tolpuddle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 was awarded Best Australian Red at the International Wine Challenge in the UK. Owned by Shaw + Smith owners Michael Hill Smith and Martin Shaw, the Tolpuddle Vineyard, planted in 1988, is located in the Coal River Valley just 20 minutes outside of Hobart
2013 was also a great year for another of Tasmania’s East Coast wineries, the Lyne-family owned Spring Vale in Cranbrook. Sixth in a field of 42, the Spring Vale Pinot Noir 2013 beat out some serious competition in a recent GT Wine blind tasting of single-vineyard Australian pinot noir. Writer and judge Toni Peterson MW described it as “a poised and classy wine with excellent varietal character and energy. Notes of red berries, herbs and tamarillo. It is very pure and focussed with a lovely loose texture. It built more complexity in the glass with time.”(Single Site Pinot Noir by Nick Bulleid MW, GT Wine, Aug/Sept 2015)
I had an opportunity to try the wine at the annual Vin Diemen’s wine tasting and decided to track it down! I have been enjoying it ever since, and fortunately secured a few bottles for the Cellarit Wine Market.
So what makes Tassie pinot noir so good? SMH Good Food writer Jeni Port spoke to a number of high profile Tasmanian winemakers who believe that the climatic conditions of Tasmania are remarkably similar to Burgundy and Champagne, where cool climate and humidity in combination create grape compositions that are more delicate and less tannic.
Charles ”Chilly” Hargrave, group sparkling winemaker for Treasury Wine Estates told Jeni Port he’s convinced that the south of Tasmania is truly the best place for growing Burgundian style pinot noir. ”It’s marginal,…Around Hobart is drier, the soils are tougher; you don’t get the vine vigour or the obvious fruitiness…What you do get is something Burgundian…You get purity, you get line. Structure, focus overlaid with complex fruit – not big cherry bombs”. (Why Tasmanian Pinot Noir Matters by Jeni Port, SMH Good Food, 15 July 2014)
Definitely what you get are wines that are simply delicious, especially when served with food!
by Merrill Witt, Editor
Photo Credit: GenXY:Wines
The Spring Vale Pinot Noir 2013 is available on the Cellarit Wine Market for $44 a bottle.