Category Archives: Tasmanian Pinot Noir

Feb 02 2017

Newcomer Lisdillon Pinot Noir 2015 – Wins Top Gold at Tasmanian Wine Show

Posted on February 02, 2017 | By merrill@cellarit.com

No fewer than 57 wines entered the 2015 pinot class of the recently judged Tasmanian Wine Show, a testament to the growing reputation and popularity of pinot noir in the island state.

Some familiar names dominated the trophy and gold medal cache. The 2015 Bay of Fires Pinot Noir won the Chairman’s Selection Hazards Ale Trophy and the 2015 Goaty Hill Family Reserve Pinot Noir won the People’s Choice James Halliday Trophy. Gold medals were awarded to the 2015 Home Hill Kelly’s Reserve Pinot Noir, the 2015 Bay of Fires Pinot Noir, the 2015 Goaty Hill Family Reserve Pinot Noir and the 2015 Goaty Hill Pinot Noir.

Interestingly, a wine that I wasn’t familiar with, the Lisdillon Pinot Noir 2015, was awarded a Top Gold – in other words, the standout amongst the gold medal winners!

This modestly priced wine (you can find it for less than $35 a bottle) has been garnering great reviews. The Wine Front’s Mike Bennie scored the 2015 vintage 93 points:

Flavoursome, sappy textured, sticks-to-your-gums pinot noir of purity and quiet power. It’s a delicious wine to settle into, full of black cherry, plummy sweetness, fine, chewy tannins. Has quite a bit of ripeness and concentration yet maintains a freshness and comely drinking. Length is a feature, as is wonderful perfume. Quality stuff here, and plenty for the pinot fancier to get excited about. (The Wine Front, February 2017)

The Lisdillon Vineyard is named after Lisdillon Beach on the Tasmania’s east coast. The picturesque property is close to the town of Swansea and the Freycinet National Park. Owned by the Cotton family since 1971, sheep farmer Crispin Cotton decided to plant vines just seven years ago. Unfortunately, Crispin died in 2014, but his family is continuing to manage the … Read the rest

Aug 08 2016

Tasmanian Pinot Noir: Reaching for New Heights – Highlights from Sydney’s Vin Diemen Tasting

Posted on August 08, 2016 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Vin Diemen, the annual showcase of Tasmanian wine, is always a great event and this year was no exception. Held last Saturday in a new venue – the beautiful historic National Arts School in East Sydney – many of the winemakers were on hand and happy to field questions while busily pouring their wines for big crowds.

The outstanding quality of Tasmanian pinot noir (with some pretty hefty price tags to match!) was one of the highlights of the tasting. The enticing dark cherry and plum fruit aromas of the Holm Oak “The Wizard” Pinot Noir 2014 ($60) led to a vibrant flavour driven palate with excellent length and silky tannins. Delicious!

The elegant Spring Vale Estate Pinot Noir is a perennial favourite of mine and the 2015 vintage ($45) exhibited this wine’s hallmark dark cherry aromas with herbal touches. Well structured, its clearly delineated fine grained tannins framed a complex range of dark fruit flavours with savoury overtones.

The Coal River winery Domaine A has built its reputation on cabernet, but winemaker Peter Althaus also knows how to make a very fine pinot noir. The Domaine A Pinot Noir 2009 ($90) is an excellent example of Tasmania’s potential to produce a rich, opulent style of pinot noir designed to age. This is a well-structured elegant, delicately scented medium-bodied wine with concentrated flavours, silky tannins and a lingering finish.

The 2013 Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers ReveurPinot Noir ($56) with its firm yet fine tannins and vibrant acidity was also quite Burgundian in style. A beguiling nose of strawberries, dark stone fruits and savoury spice led to a supple and complex flavour profile of cherries and blackberries. Definitely another good one for the cellar!

2014WizardPinotNoirsmallOver the years the best Tasmanian winemakers have come to understand the subtle nuances of their … Read the rest

Feb 02 2016

Tasmania’s Spring Vale Pinot Noir 2013: A Taste of Burgundy in Australia!

Posted on February 02, 2016 | By merrill@cellarit.com

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.

Tasmania Wine MapCharles ”Chilly” Hargrave, group sparkling winemaker for Treasury Wine Estates told … Read the rest

Sep 09 2015

Tasmania’s Best Pinot Noir – Tolpuddle Pinot Noir 2013

Posted on September 09, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

The 2013 Tolpuddle Pinot Noir, from the famous Coal River Valley vineyard owned by cousins Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith of Shaw + Smith in the Adelaide Hills, was recently named Best Australian Red Wine at the International Wine Challenge in London in April.

First released in 2012, the universal applause for both the inaugural and 2013 vintages is the best evidence to date that Tasmania is starting to realise its potential for pinot noir.

Certainly Shaw and Smith haven’t been shy about attaching an expensive price tag to their award-winning wine ($75 rrp). As the UK’s top wine critic Jancis Robinson remarked: “This is not a cheap wine. It costs about the same as many premier cru burgundy. But it has the advantage of being already delicious to drink – unlike most 2013 burgundies.” How’s that for a wonderful backhanded compliment! (Tolpuddle Pinot Noir 2013 by Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, 15 April 2015)

 

 

Tolpuddle Pinot Noir 750ml NV copyFirst established in 1988 by Tony Jordan, Gary Crittenden and Bill Casimaty, Tolpuddle won the first-ever Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year Award in 2006. Describing their decision to try to buy the vineyard in 2011 (it wasn’t even listed at the time), Shaw and Smith said “it was love at first sight. 20 hectares of mature Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines planted on a long even slope, with lean soils, forests above and water below and great vineyard exposure. Fantastic.”

The Coal River Valley is proving climatically ideal for slow ripening pinot noir. The cool but relatively dry climate allows the grapes to ripen slowly in autumn without the threat of disease pressure from heavy rainfall.

Shaw and Smith note that in 2011 Peter Dawson, former chief winemaker at Hardy’s, boldly predicted that “Tasmania would be making Australia’s best Chardonnay and … Read the rest

Feb 02 2013

50 Wines to Try in 2013: No. 5 – Pooley Wines Coal River Pinot Noir 2011

Posted on February 02, 2013 | By merrill@cellarit.com

2012 was a big year for the family-run Coal River Valley winery Pooley Wines. At the prestigious Royal Melbourne Wine Show the Pooley Wines Coal River Pinot Noir 2011 won the hotly contested Douglas Seabrook Trophy for the best single-vineyard wine and the Dan Murphy Trophy for best pinot noir  The winery was also named 2012 Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year – an award given by the Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania in recognition of viticultural practices. To cap it off, third-generation winemaker Matthew Pooley won a Nuffield Scholarship to travel overseas and investigate sustainable small-scale winery establishment and management.

Matthew Pooley firmly believes that “if you have good fruit you will have good wine.” He has implemented some interesting innovations to improve soil health and sustainability. Peas, for example, are grown in between the vine rows to organically enrich the soil with nitrogen. Oats and rye grass complement the pea plantings by encouraging microbial matter and moisture retention in the soil.  (Pooley Wines scoops the pool by Margot Foster, ABC Rural News, 26 October  2012)

The Coal River Pinot Noir is made from 20 year old vines from the cool-climate Campania Vineyard on the banks of the Coal River. Established in 1985 by Matthew’s grandparents, Denis and Margaret Pooley, the winery is one of the oldest in Tasmania. Until her death in 2010 Margaret worked alongside her son John and grandson in the vineyards.

Of the award-winning 2011 vintage, Gourmet Traveller’s Wine correspondent Nick Stock offered the following critique:

It’s a mid-red wine with gentle depth and complexity. It opens up smoothly in the glass and delivers a very fragrant aroma with fine bright cherry and wild herbs, a waft of pepper, some earthy notes and a meaty edge too – the oak is discreetly balanced. The palate Read the rest

Jul 07 2012

3 Wonderful Aged Wines from Tasmania: A Tasmanian Unbottled Masterclass Tasting

Posted on July 07, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Andrew Pirie, Ed Carr, Peter Bourne and Nick Haddow

On Wednesday I attended the Tasmania Unbottled Cheese and Wine Masterclass.  The Wine Man’s Peter Bourne led the discussion and was joined by the House of Arras’s chief winemaker Ed Carr, Andrew Pirie, chief winemaker at Tamar Ridge and Pirie Tasmania, and the Bruny Island Cheese Company’s Nick Haddow.

The cheese was excellent, especially the four year old raw milk C2, a cheddar style cheese, which incidentally is the only legally made raw cheese in Australia! But the highlight for me was the opportunity to taste three superb vintage wines: the House of Arras Grand Vintage 2004, the Tamar Ridge Chardonnay 2004 and the Native Point Pinot Noir 2005.

 

If you’re ever weighing up buying a French Champagne or an Australian vintage sparkling, do yourself a favour and pick up a bottle of the beautifully made House of Arras Grand Vintage 2004. (It retails for around $70 a bottle) This elegant, finely beaded wine with complex nuances of flavour and a slight creaminess to the finish is still displaying great vibrancy and freshness. A blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, Ed Carr explained that the wine had spent seven years on lees before disgorgement. It receives a small dosage of expedition liqueur, which introduces a slight oak and brandy spirit into the complex, balanced blend.

Andrew Pirie was Australia’s first PhD in viticulture and as the founder of Pipers Brook Vineyard back in 1974, he is one of the legends of the Tasmanian wine industry. His Tamar Ridge Chardonnnay 2004 was an absolutely stunning example of  Tasmania’s potential to make chardonnay with enough balance and structure to age for a long time.

Pirie explained that Tasmanian chardonnay needs time to evolve. Over time the … Read the rest