Riversdale Estate is in the warm (for Tasmania) Coal River Valley region. Their 2017 syrah is pretty good. As befits the climate, this syrah is northern Rhône like in terms of style rather than South Australian (think Saint Joseph) with aromas of red fruit, pepper, cloves, mineral and gravel. The palate is medium bodied, with fresh acidity, bright raspberries and plums and has a lovely peppery character. There’s good length on the finish. This syrah is an enjoyable wine that is ready to drink now. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $40. Source: Sample.
Is there a better value wine than Australian riesling? High quality Australian riesling is not limited to the Clare Valley, Eden Valley and Great Southern either. Tasmanian riesling in particular continues to impress, even though in 2015 it accounted for a tiny 7% of that State’s crush and only 1.6% Australia wide. Here are some notes on a couple of good ones.
Riversdale Estate ‘Cygnus’ Riesling 2013, Coal River Tasmania
This is a delicious example of Tasmanian cool climate riesling from Riversdale Estate. The grapes for this wine are estate grown in the Coal River Valley outside of Hobart, in a low rainfall site which receives ~350mm during the growing season. In the glass, there are chiselled lemon and lime aromatics, coupled with florals reminding of gardenias. The palate is fresh and crisp, balancing its core flavours of lemon and lime. A very good release from a good riesling vintage.
Rating: Very Good
Lowe Nullo Mountain Riesling 2013
I love the story of this vineyard. Technically zoned Mudgee, the vineyard is situated at 1,100 metres, receives 1,000mm of rain each year and sits on volcanic soils. It’s just been certified organic and biodynamic too. I wonder whether that might be a challenge to maintain at this level of rainfall? The 2013 vintage has very cool climate aromatics of green apple, lime rind and lime juice. The palate is resolutely dry, with high acid, mid range length and good balance.
Rating: Very Good
Grape varieties in Australia can take some unusual paths. I was reminded of this by an entry in James Halliday’s The Australian Wine Compendium published in 1985. It seems that zinfandel found its way all the way down to the Coal River Valley in Tasmania in the 1980s in the Stoney Vineyard which was planted by George Park in the 70s. This same vineyard is better known today under the ownership of the esteemed Domaine A winery (to whom it was sold in the late 80s). And the ’82 zinfandel saw a pretty good review too from Mr Halliday if this extract is anything to go by:
Fast forward a few decades (James Halliday, Varietal Wines published in 2015) and zinfandel has only 104 hectares of vineyards in Australia and 87 growers. I guess while that seems quite a large area, it is a local oddity compared with the 19,857 and 12,234 hectares of zin under vine in the United States and Italy respectively. On current trends, I suspect that zin’s high alcohol tendencies will see it stay that way for some time on local shores. For those wishing to taste more or undertaking wine study, vinodiversity.com maintains a helpful current list of producers.