When I signed up to a masterclass on “Tasmania’s Unsung Varietal Heroes” at the recent Tasmania Unbottled trade tasting event in Sydney, I wasn’t expecting so many well established mainland varieties to be represented. The lineup included the Moorilla Muse Riesling 2011, the Dalrymple Sauvignon Blanc 2012, the Bay of Fires Pinot Gris 2012, the Glaetzer-Dixon MON PèRE Shiraz 2008, the Petit ‘a’ by Domaine A 2008 and the Grey Sands Merlot 2007. Only a couple of the wines, the Bream Creek Schönburger 2011 and the Holm Oak Arneis 2012, were what the rest of Australia would generally regard as alternative varieties.

Of course, no-one would dispute that sparkling wine and pinot noir are still Tasmania’s star performers. Ed Carr, the chief sparkling winemaker at Bay of Fires and House of Arras, has lifted the profile of Tasmanian sparkling to such great heights that wines like the House of Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged Sparkling 1998 rrp $190 compete with the finest French vintage Champagnes in terms of quality and even price! And you may recall from one of my previous posts, 50 Wines to Try in 2013: Pooley Coal River Pinot Noir 2011, that the aforementioned wine won both the Douglas Seabrook Trophy for the best single-vineyard wine and the Dan Murphy Trophy for best pinot noir at the 2012 Royal Melbourne Wine Show.

But the so-called unsung varietal heroes are also starting to garner a fair share of critical acclaim. The wine world was stunned when Nick Glaetzer’s Côte-Rôtie style Glaetzer-Dixon MON PèRE Shiraz 2010 picked up Australia’s most coveted red wine award, the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show. At the masterclass, Glaetzer explained that the Mon Pere is still the only shiraz in Australia … Read the rest