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!
Over the years the best Tasmanian winemakers have come to understand the subtle nuances of their terroir and developed both the experience and expertise to bring out the very best in their fruit. The Shaw + Smith owned Tolpuddle Vineyard, with its almost 30 year old vines, proved just how special a Tasmanian vineyard can be when the 2013 Tolpuddle Pinot Noir won Best Australian Red Wine at the International Wine Challenge in London last year.
Rebecca Duffy, winemaker at Holm Oak, is also very confident of the quality of her 30+ year pinot noir vines (some of the oldest in Tasmania) on her beautiful Tamar Valley vineyard. So much so that she selected two of the very best barrels of the estate pinot noir for a very special bottling: the Holm Oak “Hotshot” Pinot Noir 2014 ($120 cellar door only). Wine critic James Halliday recently scored this stunning wine 95 points:
Only two barrels selected, one fermented with 50% whole bunches/50% whole berries, the other 100% whole bunches. Deep crimson-purple; a very complex savoury style with lots on offer from the bouquet and palate alike; satsuma plum, dark cherry and spice flavours fire the first shot, texture and structure the next, the long, lingering finish and aftertaste the coup de grace. (Halliday Australian Wine Companion, 11 August 2016)
Yes, the confidence of Tasmanian winemakers is now reflected in the wines’ prices. But without doubt, these are premium world-class wines offering wonderful drinking pleasure.
by Merrill Witt, Editor