The Isle Stripped Bare – Tasmania Unbottled 2012

Tassie wines are sensational, we know. And the recent Tasmania Unbottled tour of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane saw several Tasmanian wineries take to the road to show us mainlanders again just how brilliant the wines of Tasmania really are.

While Tassie is world-famous for it’s Champagne-esque Sparkling Wine and deeply gorgeous Pinot Noir, it was inspiring to see some other varieties doing beautifully, such as Riesling and (the wine of the moment) Pinot Gris.

And what would a showcase of Tasmanian wine be without Andrew Pirie? Le Docteur Pirie is arguably THE founding father of Tasmanian wine, having planted vineyards on the island back in 1974 which saw him flying in the face of scientific research that had indicated that Tassie was “unsuitable” for cool climate wine production.

If you’ve ever celebrated a major life event with a delectable bottle of Sparkling Tassie wine, then you’ve got Andrew Pirie to thank. (And just in case you couldn’t make it in person Jane, our Chief Fabulous Lady, did just that for you.)

Our chief Fabulous Lady, Jane, showing her gratitude to Andrew Pirie for his role in the development of Tasmanian wine.

There’s scarce a person that would say they don’t like a Tassie wine, but the major problem for the wine-loving gal looking for a nice bottle or two of Tassie wine is the price. Tasmanian wine tends to overheat the credit card.

But why?

Partly it’s because Pinot Noir and Sparkling Wines are the flagship wines from Tasmania, and both styles of wine require a high level of care, skill and careful handling to make. Such efforts are time consuming and expensive.

Quantity is another contributing factor. Many of Tasmanias best wines are produced in small, boutique levels which again makes it difficult to create quality wine at a lower price point.

It’s important to keep in mind  however, that many mainland wineries charge comparable prices for wines that are boutique, single vineyard, limited release or have been carefully crafted. These are their “top tier” wines. The cheaper options are usually their lower quality offerings.

When you strip away the hype around Tasmanian wines and realise these facts, it quickly becomes apparent that you’re not paying any more. You’re just paying what’s required for quality.

And it’s this consistently high quality that has made Tasmanian wine stand out from the crowd.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to give up your seasonal wardrobe staples just to buy Tassie wine. Here’s our top three discoveries from Tasmania Unbottled that we think are worth every dollar.

Our Top 3 Picks from Tasmania Unbottled:

Pinot Noir

Bream Creek Pinot Noir 2010 $35.00

I know us girls get ribbed for being able to detect and lock-in on chocolate like we’re born with some kind of homing device. But rich, dark chocolate is exactly the dominant flavour emanating from this delectable Pinot Noir from Bream Creek on Tasmania’s East Coast. In a tasting with seven other Pinot Noirs – most of which were at a much higher price point – we kept coming back to this one over and over again. It’s love.

 

Sparkling

Arras 2004 Grand Vintage $70.00

A lip-smackling good sparkling that outshines most French Champagnes at this price point. If you’ve got a celebration coming up, or you just feel like a very special evening in front of the fire, then by-pass the imports and grab a bottle of this fine beaded gorgeousness. (And if you send us a pic of you gratefully smooching sparkling wine maker extrordinaire, Ed Carr, we’ll even send you a bottle!)

 

New-ish on the block

Holm Oak Arneis 2011 $25

Holm Oak Wines in the Tamar Valley may be home to that colourful character ‘Pinot d’Pig’ but it’s their Arneis that’s got us squealing. Rebecca Duffy, proprietor and wine maker at Holm Oak, reckons this is Tassie’s first Arneis – an Italian varietal that’s increasingly gaining in popularity here in Australia. And what a wine! Crisp, fresh, light and laden with lemony goodness. Makes you want to run to the coastline – this is a wine that demands water views.