|Stoney Rise Pinot - smart wine for the price|
14%, Screwcap, $29
Ahh Tasmania. The Apple Isle. That bit down the bottom of Australia. A part of the nation that is, to put it simply, cool. Cool in climate and now, in wine terms at least, fashionable cool. And it's wines of this ilk that are drawing winemakers south.
Why? How? Alot of it comes down to climate actually, with the dry (in the wine regions at least) and mild (in the northern part at least) climate particularly conducive to growing grapes. Couple that with a reputation that echoes the 'clean, green' ethos of our Kiwi neighbours across the ditch, along with the notion that plenty of the finest terroirs are yet to be planted and you've got a veritable promised land.
Of course it's nowhere near as easy as that, with a growing number of Tassie producers whom have got more wine than they can sell. There remains very few genuine 'icon' producers to pull the state's reputation forward to boot (and a serious lack of availability for the best too). Yet still the promise remains (as do the great wines).
To make great wines though you've got to start with great vineyards, and this wine is drawn from a rather famous one - the old Rotherhythe vineyard on the western side of the Tamar River. It's a vineyard that was planted in the mid 80's, making it rather old indeed for Tasmania, and situated in a part of the island that our very own Mike Bennie calls 'the QLD of Tasmania' (which means it's generally warmer and more hospitable than down south).
Couple that with careful winemaking (Mr Bennie has a hand in that too, though Joe does most of the pants-on work) and you've got a recipe for goodness.
This Stoney Rise Pinot suitably delivers too, a Pinot that smells and tastes like much more than $29 worth of wine. It smells of Pinot - which sounds silly, but that's important - with bright warmish cherry fruit, some dirt wrapped smallgoods and background oak. On the palate it's a ripe wine, particularly for Tassie, with a firmness from the mid palate on that suggests somewhere warmer too. The length and tannins too are more mainland than Tassie, the meaty aftertaste very serious and grown up indeed.
All up it's a wine that delivers this one, a Pinot of length and power that is still unveiling in the bottle, showing more and more pinosity as it goes. Smart wine for the price indeed. 17.8/92+