When it comes to fine wine, our smallest (and coolest) state is seriously hot right now. With most Tasmanian wines produced in tiny amounts, it’s a prime case of quality over quantity. Let The Wine Society take you on a journey through the styles that have made this cool-climate region one of Australia’s finest destinations for wine lovers.
It’s always good to kick off proceedings with a glass of bubbles, and it’s an absolute no-brainer when you’re in Australia’s premier sparkling wine region. Tasmania’s cool climate is perfect for the production of complex, pristine and food-friendly fizz. Top-class producers, such as Kreglinger Wine Estates, are making wines that challenge Champagne for class, elegance and pure enjoyment, usually at a fraction of the cost, meaning you no longer need to reserve an excellent bottle of bubbles just for special occasions. And if that’s not a reason to pop the cork, we don’t know what is.
With a climate that shares similarities with Germany’s Rhine region, it is no surprise that Tasmania is well suited to Riesling. This often misunderstood grape comes in all shapes and sizes, packing flavours from super sweet to bone dry. Top producers, such as Pressing Matters, explore these different tastes, all the while harnessing the grape’s remarkable ability to express the place in which it was grown. Tasmanian Rieslings, due to their cooler-climate origins, are brighter and fresher than their mainland counterparts, boasting superb purity, fragrance and focus of fruit. And they’re unbeatable with a plate of local oysters.
There was a time when big, brassy sunshine-in-a-bottle chardonnay ruled the world. Then came the backlash. The credibility of Aussie chardonnay crashed as the world craved more elegant, refined wines. Now Australia is again in the frame for world-class Chardonnay and it is our cool-climate wine producers, including Tassie’s Holm Oak Vineyards, that have put us back on the map. Complex and often cellar-worthy, Holm Oak wines make incredible partners for Tasmania’s ocean bounty. Try sweet, fresh Tasmanian crayfish and a premium local Chardonnay. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a match that beats it anywhere on the planet.
Of course, there is a fair bit more to Tasmania than whites and bubbles. There’s something here for the red-wine lover, too, and that something is pretty special. Pinot Noir is actually a tricky grape to grow, but when it’s done well, by producers such as Pipers Brook, the results are truly exciting. As with Riesling, Pinot Noir shifts dramatically in style depending on where it was made. In Tasmania’s case, that means long, slow ripening that adds a depth of flavour, structure and richness that is exciting critics and punters alike. Or, to put it another way, they are absolutely delicious and world class.