Tyson Stelzer Tasmanian Pinot Noir Tasmanian Sparkling Wine

Tasmanian Wine: Pinot Noir & Sparkling Wine

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Tasmania has always piqued my interest. Perhaps it was my interest in zoology as a kid. Learning about the extinct Tasmanian Wolf and extant Tasmanian Devil made the island seem so exotic. Fast forward to the present day and it’s an exciting region for my current interest – wine. It’s currently a hot spot in the world of wine. Tasmanian wine producers are making a name for themselves with their sparklers and Pinot Noir.

Tasmanian Wine

Tasmania is establishing itself as a leader of cool-climate winemaking in Australia. Wine Tasmania reports that there are just over 2,000 hectares of vineyards in Tasmania, with nearly half of the plantings being Pinot Noir. On top of that, nearly a quarter of the harvest is dedicated to the production of sparkling wine.

Charine and I spent time in Singapore during the winter of 2018 and the start of 2019. Unfortunately, Tasmania didn’t make our itinerary. Hopefully, we make it there soon. In the meantime, we were able to familiarize ourselves with the wines and producers thanks to a number of tastings including the Pinot Palooza and the Tasmanian Pinot Noir & Sparkling Showcase – both took place in Hong Kong.

Tasmanian Pinot Noir Tasmanian Sparkling Wine

Australian wine critic Tyson Stelzer assembled a collection of 32 wines from 18 producers for the Tasmanian Pinot Noir & Sparkling Showcase. The tasting featured non-vintage and vintage Tasmanian sparkling wines in addition to both current and back vintages of Tasmanian Pinot Noir. It was eye-opening for us to taste through a large selection of Tasmanian wine over a few hours.

Tasmanian Pinot Noir Tasting

The Good

  • The sparkling wines were really well made all with fine beads of bubbles. Tyson said that tirage, second fermentation, and bottling are done on the main island of Australia, not on Tasmania.
  • The non-vintage sparklers showed good levels of complexity.
  • All the sparkling wines had a generous amount of fruit –  making them more similar to Franciacorta than Champagne.
  • Most of the Pinot Noirs were fruity and enjoyable to drink.

The Not-So-Good

  • We don’t see the distinctive identity of Tasmanian sparkling wine and Pinot Noir, this could very well be due to our educational shortcomings.
  • Some of the Pinot Noirs suffered from green undertones and heavy-handed extraction, resulting in harsh tannins.
  • Because of the cost of grapes and production costs, the wines are not cheap.

Exotic Wine Travel’s Picks

You can find out more about our scoring system on the WINE RATING page.

Tasmanian Sparkling Wine

  • Clover Hill, Cuvée NV

The Clover Hill Cuvée NV is a blend of Chardonnay (65%), Pinot Noir (31%), and Pinot Meunier (4%) aged for two years on the lees. Notes of golden apple, biscuit, and lemon notes. It has lots of fruit up front with a medium level of complexity. The wine is easy to drink with a long finish. Score: 90/100

Clover Hill Tasmanian Cuvee

  • Josef Chromy, Tasmanian Sparkling Cuvée NV

The Josef Chromy Tasmanian Sparkling Cuvée NV is a blend of Pinot Noir (58%), Chardonnay (41.5%), and Pinot Meunier (0.5%). Notes of golden delicious apple, flint, mineral, and biscuit. It’s very Champagne-like in flavor. The acidity is sharp and the finish is long. For a non-vintage sparkler, this is very well done. Score: 91/100

Josef Chromy Tasmanian Cuvee

  • Frogmore Creek, Sparkling Cuvée 2016

The Frogmore Creek Sparking Cuvée is a blend of Pinot Noir (64%), Chardonnay (32%), and Pinot Meunier (4%) aged in oak for four months. This is sharp, linear, and highly structured. Flavors include strawberry, lemon, pear, and a touch of yogurt. The wine has a long finish and should age well. Score: 91/100

Frogmore Creek Cuvee 2016

  • Bellebonne, Vintage Cuvée 2015

The Bellebonne Vintage Cuvée is a blend of Chardonnay (57%) and Pinot Noir (43%). Most of this cuvée was barrel fermented and aged. This is well done and offers a good level of complexity. It has notes of apple pear, lemon peel, and brioche. The creamy layer of bubbles is mouth-filling and the wine has a long finish. Score: 91/100

Bellebonne Vintage Cuvee 2015

  • Jansz Tasmania Premium Rosé NV

The Jansz Tasmania Premium Rosé NV is a blend of Pinot Noir (72%) and Chardonnay (22%). It has notes of sweet candied cherry, strawberry, and rhubarb. There is a pronounced layer of brioche which accompanies the fine bubbles. It’s not complex but it is very delicious. Score: 89/100

Tasmanian Pinot Noir

  • Spring Vale, Melrose Pinot Noir 2018

Find or buy on Wine-Searcher.

The Spring Vale Melrose Pinot Noir 2018 is an interesting wine with 3% Pinot Meunier added to the blend. It smells wild like a natural wine with lots of yeast on the nose. Notes of raspberry, rhubarb, and green herbs make up the flavor profile. Earthy notes emerge on the palate and the tannins are soft. This is a particular wine and that hipster natural wine bars would go gaga over. Score: 91/100

Spring Vale Melrose Pinot Noir

  • Frogmore Creek, Pinot Noir 2017

The Frogmore Creek Pinot Noir 2017 is darker and dense for the grape. It has notes of cherry, oak, and fall leaves. It’s fuller in body, like a Sonoma County Pinot Noir. Chewy tannins guide the tight structure and long finish. This is a wine to put in the cellar for another ten years. Score: 91/100

Frogmore Creek Pinot Noir

  • Holm Oak, Pinot Noir 2017

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The Holm Oak Pinot Noir 2017 was a big hit among most of the tasters. This has lots of flinty notes to accompany the cherry, strawberry, and vanilla notes. It has a round mouthfeel and the grippy tannins hit you at the end. Long finish. Score: 91/100

Holm Oak Pinot Noir

  • Dawson James, Pinot Noir 2014

Find or buy on Wine-Searcher.

The Dawson James Pinot Noir 2014 is aged in a combination of new and used French oak. This stands out above all the wines in the tasting thanks to its concentration. Flavors include red fruit, forest floor, and white pepper. The mid-palate is loaded with fruit and the lively acidity keeps it from feeling flabby. The mouthfeel is creamy and the finish is long. The tannins offer a slight tug which suggests this wine should do fine with more bottle age. Score: 92/100

Dawson James Pinot Noir

  • Pressing Matters, Pinot Noir 2014

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The Pressing MAtters Pinot Noir 2014 is aged in both new and used French oak. It’s darker in color for a Pinot Noir. There are notes of black cherry, raspberry, and fall leaves. The tangy mid-palate and a round mouthfeel make this very easy to drink. Score: 89/100

Pressing Matters Pinot Noir

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