Tasmania’s sweet and semi-sweet white wines are the undersung heroes of the island state. No doubt that’s because the marvelous sparkling wines, pinot noirs, chardonnays and dry rieslings hog the spotlight. But these wines deserve our attention, as they can be beautiful wines of haunting perfume and refreshing acidity.
Natalie Beath and Erin Robson became friends at university. Their careers embraced wine – Natalie earned a Bachelor of Wine Science and has worked for a number of wine producers in New Zealand and California – Erin joined Montana Wines after university before heading for the UK where she worked in wine marketing for a number of importers and distributors.
Dominik Huber (pictured) is that rare breed of winemaker: someone capable of putting a whole new interpretation on the wines of his region. Huber is co-founder of the winery Terroir al Limit in Catalonia’s Priorat region.
A tasting of Gonzalez Byass sherries with Bangkok-based export manager Xavier Vicente reminded me that the best examples offer brilliant value. It’s an easily neglected wine style that deserves more of my attention.
A Greek moschofilero from the Troupis winery in Mantinia was one of the most enjoyable wines I found in my recent tasting of 88 ‘odd variety’ dry whites.
I broke my rule where I refuse to taste wines in front of the winemaker because I was keen to taste the 2014 Bullnose and Coleraine. The tasting was held in a sizeable room. I tasted with a handful (one winemaker suggested the collective noun for wine critics should be “sponge”) of wine critics under the distant watchful eye of winemaker Peter Cowley, who provided background information to each wine without attempting to exert undue influence.
Bass Phillip is recognized by many observers as the finest pinot noir producer in Australia. In my experience, the wines are more consistent these days, but in the past, they were very uneven – even erratic.
I’ve just tasted a fair cross-section of local Rieslings. Not only is the overall quality terrific but there seems to be a strong trend toward producing drier styles. I personally favour the off-dry wines because I love the sweet/sour tension that the best examples possess. However, Thai curries aside, I have to admit that dry Riesling is a more versatile wine to match with food.
Roberto Voerzio (pictured) is one of the greatest producers of Barolo, but you won’t find him in many of the classic books on Barolo. He established his company only in 1986, having split from his brother and father – also Barolo winemakers. His wines first came to Australia in 1995 when Red + White, which is still his importer, brought in the 1989 vintage.
Wine drinkers had high expectations when Kevin Judd resigned from his position as chief winemaker/manager at Cloudy Bay to “do his own thing”.