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 has terrific balance with smooth, ripe, supple tannins building to a fresh finish of crisp and lively acidity that helps to hold terrific length. (The Pinot Files: Express Yourself  by Nick Stock, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Dec/Jan 2013)

The Pooley Wines Coal River Pinot Noir 2011 is still available from the winery for $38 a bottle.