Wine Australia did a stirling job organising Savour Australia in Adelaide. The excellent Sheralee Davies of Wine Tasmania brought a group of international trade down to Tasmania for a whirlwind 36 hour visit.
Naturally, she organised a stellar Tasmanian sparkling wine tasting at Josef Chromy. Leading the panel Andrew Pirie, Natalie Fryar and the maker of the Best Chardonnay in the World* Jeremy Dineen, took the group through some of the best sparkling wines Tasmania has to offer. I was fortunate enough to try some of the wines once the master class had finished and I am pleased to report that there were some crackers amongst the line up.
Styles were diverse and as much as it is like picking your favourite child, here are my standout wines of the day.
1. Jansz Rose 2009. Miss Natalie Fryar you are a legend! Excellent sparkling rose is one of those hidden secrets, beyond the hen night lady petrol, sits a refined, elegant, savoury and flavoursome treat that is quality pink bubbles. Nat has hit the nail on the head with this wine and I recommend you don’t tell too many of your friends as you’re going to have to share it with them.
2. Apogee. Honestly, both of them are excellent. The vintage and the vintage rose are an exquisite treat from Andrew Pirie’s ‘later life project’ (his words). The man knows how to handle a sparkling wine and if you are fortunate enough to spend some time at his vineyard in Lebrina, Pipers River, you will understand that part of Andrew’s talent is that he is still learning, still searching and still trying. That is why he is one of the all time great sparkling winemakers.
3. Arras EJ Carr LD 2001. I tried this wine earlier in the year for the Australian Wine Month tasting I held at Velo and it went down a storm then. Stylish, classy, elegant and a great example of how Tasmanian sparkling wine can mature.
4. Josef Chromy 2008, Jeremy Dineen has a particular approach to sparkling wine. That approach is lean, precise and very well structured. No malo-lactic fermentation, no oak, no messing just pure Tasmanian fruit. This is still a real baby of a sparkling wine, definitely one that will reward you for careful cellaring.
5. Delamere Blanc de Blancs 2008. Technically this wasn’t in the line up. This was the bottle that I gave to my ex-boss Steve Lewis of Majestic Wine. Shane Holloway bought Delamere Vineyards in 2007 and in 2011 lured his wife, Fran Austin, back to the family vineyard. They are a talented pair with a great understanding of the Pipers Brook region of Tasmania. I’m a sucker for Pinot dominant sparklings but it is wines like this that make me realise the joy of 100% Chardonnay. Buy some to drink and some to hide, we’ve not seen the best of these two yet…
*Yup, Jeremy took Tasmanian Chardonnay to the world and emerged victorious. Read more here.