Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tasmanian Pinot Noir

A couple of days ago, I tasted a significant number of Tasmanian Pinot Noirs during the 'Tasmania Unbottled' event. My overall conclusions are
- The quality in general continues to improve
- The wines are quite different to the ones from Victoria. They are generally lighter and made at lower alcohol levels due to the cooler climate
- There are differences between the wines from Northern Tasmania and the South East. The South East has less rainfall and more sunshine hours. This is reflected in the intensity of the best Pinot Noirs from this subregion.

Let's start with the Northern Tasmanian wines. Barringwood Vineyard produces two Pinot Noirs. The 2012 Estate Pinot Noir is quite fruity, well made, but a little simple (88 points). The 2012 Mill Block Pinot Noir is more savoury, with 50% whole bunches included, but lacks the intensity of the best wines (90 points). Very similar comments can be made on the Holm Oak Vineyards Pinot Noirs, the 2013 standard (88 points) and the 2012 'The Wizzard' Pinot Noir (90 points). I was impressed by the 2013 Josef Chromy Pinot Noir. This is a very pretty, smooth wine. Strawberry flavours dominate on the slightly lean frame. Silky tannins on the finish (92 points). I was not too impressed with the Tamar Ridge wines. The 2012 Pinot Noir has darker cherry flavours, but lacks mouthfeel (88 points). The 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir has more intensity, but lacks definition (90 points). Bay of Fires had great success with their Pinots over recent years. The 2012 Pinot Noir has black cherry as well as savoury characters. It is pretty and smooth, but not as intense as some other years (92 points). The 2012 Pipers Brook Pinot Noir has more depth, but the finish falls a little short - a no-no for top quality Pinot Noir (90 points). The 2007 Reserve Pinot Noir is remarkably fresh, despite an orange colour, there are savoury and barnyard notes as well, and the wine has good length (92 points).

Dalrymple makes a number of single vineyard Pinot Noirs. From the North East comes the 2012 Cottage Block Pinot Noir, a wine with quite complex flavours, dominated by strawberry fruit, but a lack of tannin structure (91 points). The 2012 Coal River Pinot Noir is darker in colour, with more intense cherry flavours, and a similarly weak tannin structure (91 points). The 2012 Stefano Lubiana Pinot Noir from the Derwent River shows also darker, relatively concentrated fruit. It is pretty, but a somewhat simple expression (89 points).

We now come to the best performers from the Coal River subregion. I tasted two wines from Glaetzer-Dixon. The 2013 Avance Pinot Noir is vibrant and fresh, with red cherry flavours, but the finish is short (89 points). The star of the day was the 2011 Reveur Pinot Noir, their flagship wine. This wine is more intense, with attractive earthy flavours in a European tradition, and a very long and expanding finish. Now we are talking (94 points). Almost as impressive was the 2012 Pinot Noir from the Tolpuddle Vineyard, now owned by Shaw & Smith. This is not a huge wine, but the red cherry intensity is building on the palate, reflecting the maturing of the vines, and again, the finish is long and expanding (93 points).

Overall, I found most wines pleasant to drink, but the knock-out factor, which some Victorian wines can deliver, is still missing, maybe with the exception of the last two wines.

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