Laurel Bank is a small north facing vineyard near Hobart, along the Derwent river. This proved a first class expression of cool climate dry riesling and has aromas of stones, smoke and lemon. The palate is dry, with crisp acidity and good length. Ready to drink now, this wine should improve over the next decade in the cellar. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 12.8%. Price: $25. Website: http://www.laurelbankwines.com.au. Source: Sample. Tasted: October 2019.
This syrah from Riversdale Estate is from a different vintage (2015) and is quite different in style to their 2017 syrah reviewed here. It opens to distinctive aromatics of brine, wet rosemary and sea salt. The palate is wild, gamey and spicy. Some length is there under the layers. Light to medium bodied, this wine can be approached now, but may benefit from further time in the cellar. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $55+. Source: Sample.
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.
Ten Minutes by Tractor have again managed to produce a number of high quality, interesting and varied single vineyard pinot noirs, this time from the 2016 vintage. This is a warm and early vintage in the Mornington Peninsula as outlined in my post on the whites (see here) and the vineyards are the same, with the addition of two. The first is a Wallis single vineyard wine from a new region for this producer – Tasmania. This seems to me a clever addition. The Wallis Tasmanian wine is from a 0.3 hectare single vineyard site alongside the Tamar River north of Launceston. The second single vineyard is from the Coolart Road vineyard, which is “down the hill” and closer to Hastings. It’s the source of some outstanding wine in prior vintages. Thoughts on each of the wines follow.
McCutcheon Pinot Noir 2016
This is a refined pinot noir with aromas of blackcurrant and leaf. There’s good length on the palate and savoury cherry fruit. A harmonious and refined wine that can be approached now. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $78. Source: Sample.
Judd Pinot Noir 2016
Yields are only 15hl/ha for this wine. It opens to intense aromas of saturated red cherries and florals. The palate is between medium and long length, and the palate is fleshy, with blackcurrants and leaf also predominant. Quite Burgundian in styling. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $78. Source: Sample.
Wallis Pinot Noir 2016
Oh yes. A complete pinot noir aroma with glimpses of rhubarb, blackcurrant, leaf, forest floor and red fruits. The palate has acidity, length, a medium body, some light and very fine tannins and great length on the finish. A classy, refined pinot noir that can be approached now and over the next 5 to 8 years. Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $78. Source: Sample.
Coolart Road Pinot Noir 2016
This has some depth of colour, for pinot noir. Its aroma is quite intense, with reminders of rhubarb, leaf and blackcurrants. The palate is super youthful at the moment, with some CO2 and plenty of red fruits. This is an attractive, enjoyable and forward drinking style. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $78. Source: Sample.
Wallis Tasmania Pinot Noir 2016
This wine is completely different in character to the Mornington Peninsula pinot noirs. Its aroma is more obviously fruity, with redcurrant, rhubarb, blueberry and earthy aromatics. The palate has fresher acidity and more tannins than the Peninsula wines, but the fruit is riper and fleshier, but also has a savoury character and good length. A lovely contrast. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $78. Source: Sample.
Estate Pinot Noir 2016
Pale in colour, this has classic southern Victorian pinot noir aromas of strawberry and cherry. The palate is medium bodied with length and balance. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $48.
After tasting a very good earlier vintage from this highly regarded Tasmanian pinot noir label (possibly the 2015), the 2016 was more typical than enthralling. There’s a worked aroma of stems, rosemary and florals. The palate is mid weight and fruity in expression, cherries mostly. Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $80.
This is a pretty pinot noir from Stoney Rise in the Tamar Valley in Tasmania. The 2015 vintage has aromatics of rhubarb, struck match and a whiff of cedar. It’s not particularly varietal. The palate is medium bodied with some light CO2 and chirpy acidity. (Alc: 12.5%, Region: Tasmania, Rating: Good, Would I buy it based on this tasting? Maybe, Drink: now, Tasted: May, 2017)
Other vintages reviewed:
There was a time when I could relatively easily spot Tasmanian sparkling wines in amongst Champagnes in a blind tasting. The give aways? More primary fruit, lower acidity, less yeast and a honeyed character even in young releases. No longer. Tasmania is Australia’s premier sparkling wine region and comparisons with Champagne are comfortable in quality terms. The reasons Tasmania has been able to achieve this are worthy of their own post, and so I shall do that. If you have a view, please let me know. This particular Tasmanian wine is a delicious sparkling from Kreglinger. A blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, and consumed at 13 years of age, it has very attractive toast and yeast aromatics, and a racy, fresh palate with flavour and poise. (Alc: 12.5%, Region: Tasmania, Rating: Very Good, Would I buy it based on this tasting? Yes, Drink: now to 2027, Tasted: Mar, 2017)
Other vintages reviewed:
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
I was impressed by the 2014 chardonnay from Pipers Brook in Tasmania. The grapes are sourced from northern Tasmania, grown on volcanic soils and from vines with age up to 40 years. In terms of key stylistic influences in the winery, the wine saw 20% new oak and parts of the blend underwent malolactic fermentation, meaning some malic acid retention. In the glass, there are white peach, lemon and stone aromatics. The palate is fresh with racy acidity framing lemon and yellow grapefruit characters. A classy wine.
Rating: Good to Very Good
Read more: pipersbrook.com
I have been slowly reading through Tony Walker’s new book Vintage Tasmania: The Complete Book of Tasmanian Wine (Providore Island Tasmania, 2014). I won’t talk about the book now, other than to note that it has an interesting cross reference in it to a Wine Tasmania website. Hitherto undiscovered (by me that is), Wine Tasmania has introduced a website, tasvine.org, which has attempted to locate every vineyard in Tasmania on a clickable map. What a brilliant resource – I love it! I hope more Australian wine regions follow suit. If you happen to come across anything else like this, please let me know.