Alright, let's get it out of the way. So the winemaker's wife is his cousin and his kids are his uncles. Yeah, yeah we know. Meanwhile, Tasmania is going from strength to strength for winemaking. Possibly one of the most exciting wine regions in Australia right now, Tasmania has shrugged off its backwoods vibe, front running for elegant wine, regional produce, excellent travel options, great dining and spectacular scenery. It's a complete package for a wine region.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the regional heroes. While Tasmania, the whole of the island, is considered the one wine region currently, there are marked distinctions between the south, north, east and west where the unofficial sub-regions lie. As Pinot and Chardonnay are king and queen, sparkling wine production has been the backbone of the industry for over a decade. Fruit for large and small production sparkling is harvested earlier to retain higher levels of natural acidity – something that comes easily from the very cool climate of Tasmania. While soil types and micro-climates vary greatly across Tasmania, the consistent influence is cool weather and maritime influence, with most wine growing areas proximate to rivers or the sea.
Table wines, again with a focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, are generally light to medium bodied, elegant and very pure. Winemaking facilities in Tasmania up until recently have been scant, so contract winemakers have been responsible for a fair chunk of winemaking responsibility on the island. Smaller producers have been building their own wineries in recent years, allowing for even greater diversity, quality control and individual expression.
Tasmania is renowned for premium wine production. Low yields, longer ripening periods and cool climate influence have meant that the wines produced here are some of Australia's most elegant and complex, with a finesse that mainland regions are mostly unable to attain. While Pinot and Chardonnay lead the pack, delicate Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and aromatic white wine varieties are also gaining vogue. And as additional interest rises in Tasmania and its premium wines, you can be sure that the secrets of great vines and winemaking are staying well within the family…