Patty's Pinot Closet Newsletter

Volume 2, Issue 5
July, 2004
Circulation 6,134


Tasmania, Australia
pat@pinotnoirs.com
www.pinotnoirs.com



Patty's Pinot Closet publishes this newsletter on the enjoyment and appreciation of Pinot Noir. We welcome you to enjoy the newsletters and to share them with others. This, my eighth newsletter, covers Tasmanian Pinot Noirs from Australia. I tasted wine at wineries, wine festivals, and during very lovely dinners and lunches.

My husband, Jud and I attended Pinot Noir 2004 in Wellington, New Zealand in late January. One of the speakers, Dr. Richard Smart, called Pinot Noir the Petulant Princess and said "When she is good she is very, very good and when she is bad she is awful". When I was in High School I got a surreptitious look at my school records from kindergarten on. My fourth grade teacher had written exactly the same thing - no wonder I relate to Pinot Noir so much.

Many people are comparing Tasmania (and New Zealand) to Burgundy. Here's a few statistics for Frogmore Creek Vineyards just Northeast of Hobart, Tasmania and Burgundy that might interest you.

  Frogmore Burgundy
Latitude 42' 53" 42' 16"
Elevation 200 meters 220 meters
Temperature Variability Index 32.7 32.7
# of Rain Days/Average Rainfall 89 / 359 mm 90 / 429 mm
Summation of Day Degrees 1,225 1,223
Average Sunshine Hours 1,423 1,449

Tasmania Food and Wine

Tasmania - What a beautiful undiscovered island for Pinot Noir and food! What used to be called the Apple Isle should now be called the Pinot Isle. Two major wine areas surround the two major towns, Launceston in the north and Hobart in the Southeast corner. Between Hobart and Launceston, the beautiful Tasmanian East Coast consists of sandy beaches, quaint little towns, and good Pinot Noir. We found Tasmanians to be unpretentious people living in a beautiful and as yet unspoiled paradise. The sophistication of the food and wine seemed almost out of step with the island.

Food

Tassies (how they refer to themselves) enjoy an abundance of seafood such as crayfish (Lobster), abalone, trout, salmon, blue eye, oysters, mussels and succulent scallops served with their roe. Game birds such as Quail and Pheasant abound here. They farm Venison (I believe a cross between Reindeer and American Elk). Their famous Leatherwood honey comes from Tasmania's wetter forest regions. Production of poppy seeds lead the world in production. We drove past incredibly beautiful poppy fields in bloom. Lavender fields abound and seem to pop up between vineyards everywhere we went.

They believe in genetically unmodified produce and the island abounds with orchard fruits and berries. They grow a wide variety of vegetables and herbs and in recent years a black truffle industry has started with truffieres near Launceston and Hobart.



View from Daniel Alps at Strathlynn

Recipes

Braised Quail with Red Grapes  I've researched a number of recipes for Quail and found that the most common seems to be Quail with Grapes, and white grapes at that. "The New Larousse Gastronomique", Elizabeth David's "French Provincial Cooking" and Fannie Merritt Farmer's "The Boston Cooking School Cook Book", all recommend wrapping the Quail breasts in grape leaves. For those of you with grape leaves please try it and let me know. Most of the recipes I researched (about 100) were quite complex and involved. I used red grapes instead of white and developed a simple Braised Quail with Red Grapes. You don't even have to peel the grapes as in many of the recipes. If anyone uses Pinot Noir grapes, please let me know. Hope you like it!

Many recipes using Pinot Noir are available at Patty's Pinot Closet Website.

Restaurants

Bay View Restaurant  Swansea. On the airplane to Tasmania I asked the person sitting next to me what we should be sure and eat in Tasmania. She replied, first the crayfish (lobster to us) and second the scallops with roe. So, after being in Tasmania only a few hours lunch we stopped for lunch at the Bay View Restaurant in Swansea on the East Coast. We sat at a table looking out at the beach. Jud had a mushroom souffle and I had a half crayfish with an Asian salad both wonderful. I thought, "if this keeps up I'm really in love with Tasmania". With my crayfish I enjoyed a Tasmanian Chardonnay I don't drink Pinot Noir with everything!

Chancellor Inn Scamander Beach  Our first night in Tasmania was spent at this beach house atmosphere inn. Our room included a patio with a beautiful view of the ocean. For dinner we went downstairs to the motel restaurant and had a very well prepared meal. Our wine, a Rosevears Estate 2002 Pinot Noir, required walking to the bar, ordering the wine, and carrying it back to our table (was never sure why???). Our Caesar salads were very like the Victoria salads and contained bacon, but no poached egg. Jud ordered beef fillet with vegetables and I ordered salmon with vegetables. They cooked both orders to perfection. The ambiance was definitely casual beach house, but the food was wonderful. Web Site

Hallam's Waterfront Seafood Complex  Launceston. We arrived in Launceston at lunch time and chose Hallam's by the flip of a coin. I ordered a seafood salad that included white fish, crab, squid, and these lovely scallops with their roe attached Delicious!

Piper's Brook Vineyard  Here we enjoyed an amazing lunch with an astoundingly good Pinot Noir . We sat under a beautiful arbor area and ordered the Vineyard Special for Two. It came filled with Tasmanian Ocean Trout, Smoked Rannoch Quail, Black Forest Game Terrine, Tomato & Thyme Tart, Grilled Zucchini, Eggs with Pesto, Italian style Broccoli Salad, Marinated Sweet Red peppers, Heidi Tilsit Cheese, and a Tomato Conserve. Really good! Web Site

Daniel Alps at Strathlynn  Owned by Daniel and Sally Alps and Pipers Brook Vineyard. Here you'll enjoy great food, wine and a beautiful view of the Tamar River. Jud loved his Country Style Chicken and Pork Terrine with Beetroot Jam and a Walnut Salad. I loved the Chili Salted Squid with Cucumber Salsa. With lunch we both drank the Pipers Brook Estate Pinot Noir. Web Site

Prossers on the Beach  Sandy Bay, Hobart. Good seafood with a lovely view of the water.

Meadowbank Estate Restaurant,  Coal Valley Region, Cambridge. Modern, beautiful new restaurant as well as really good Pinot Noir. Web Site

Home Hill Winery Restaurant,  Huon Valley. Beautiful restaurant and cellar door with magnificent view of Mt. Wellington and Sleeping Beauty. Web Site

Salamanca Market  Saturdays in Hobart. We thoroughly enjoyed a day at Hobart's gigantic outdoor farmer's market. We talked with vendors selling fresh bread, veggies and fruit, sauces, jellies, and jams and so much I couldn't list it all if I wanted to. We stopped and listened to buskers singing the blues and later a fellow strumming a lively folk song as we ate a Gypsy Roll - Lamb cevapcici wrapped in Mountain Bread with lettuce, carrot and strawberry chili sauce. Web Site



Crayfish with an Asian Salad



Salamanca Market

Accommodations

Riverbank Cottages,  Launceston. Three delightful boutique, self contained cottages with superb views of the Tamar River in Launceston, Tasmania. Absolute privacy in luxury - we loved our cottage. Your hosts are Tony and Sue Walker- Tony is a well known Tasmanian food and wine writer and his site also offers a free gourmet guide directory to Tasmanian food, wine, vineyards and restaurants. Web Site

Salamanca Inn,  Hobart. Lovely hotel just steps from the waterfront and the Salamanca Market. Rooms are self-contained and very nice. Web Site




Wine & Food Art

I've decided to add another facet to Patty's Pinot Closet Newsletter with the addition of a featured Artist of the Month. My first Artist of the Month is Sonoma artist Zoe Joyce Orth.

Zoe Joyce Orth  Noted for her beautiful depictions of landscapes, gardens, and flowers which showcase her unique style of impressionistic oil painting and her lively use of color. Zoe combines places and things she sees and experiences in her extensive travels throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America in her paintings. When not traveling, Zoe, an avid gardener, has a constant source of inspiration in the lovely gardens that she nurtures at her home in Sonoma, CA. Web Site

Zoe does not allow prints to be made of her pictures, but she will make a copy of any previous painting. Copies are not exactly the same. Zoe does accept commissions.

I'm looking for artists whose work reflects the wine/vineyard environment to be represented on Patty's Pinot Closet Website. Please contact Jud.


Vineyard at Puissguin - Zoe Joyce Orth



Tasmanian Wine Festivals

  • November 19-26 2004 -- Royal Hobart Wine Show, Hotel Chancellor and the Royal show grounds in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • November 26 2004 -- Royal Hobart Wine Show -- Public Tasting
  • December 28 2004 - 3 January 2005 -- Taste of Tasmania. Hobart Waterfront for Tasmanian food and wine.
  • January 17-21, 2005 -- Tasmanian Wine Show, Battery Point, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Click Here for a complete list of Pinot Wine Festivals.


Pat at 2004 Tasmanian Wine Show

Tasmanian Pinot Noirs

Because of it's very Southerly location, Tasmania has a very cool climate that allows for the production of Pinot Noir. The First Fleet brought grape vines to Australia in 1788.

Tasmania contained 137 licensed wine producers in 2003. Of those 137 wineries, 46 operate cellar doors (tasting rooms). 168 individual vineyards cover 961 hectares (2,375 acres). In 2003 they produced 5198 tons of grapes. These growers carefully manage their canopies resulting in very dark, intense, tannic, richly flavorsome wines.

I found two people very important to the Tasmanian wine industry. The first, Dr. Andrew Pirie who founded Pipers Brook Vineyard, Tasmania's most successful wine producer. The second, Dr. Richard Smart who as a NZ Government Viticultural Scientist helped lay the technical foundations for an emerging, quality-oriented and internationally competitive wine industry. He co-authored "Sunlight Into Wine" the definitive book on canopy management and contributed to Jancis Robinson's "Oxford Companion to Wine". Dr. Smith believes the Southern Hemisphere makes better wine than the Northern Hemisphere because of the higher levels of UV radiation. He also believes they will continue to do this for the next 100 years!

Factoid  As I go to various meetings and lectures I am hearing wine makers talk about "Heat Units." They also use the term heat degree days (HDD) or growing degree days (GDD). In simple terms, they define heat units as the max temperature minus the minimum temperature divided by 2 with base temperature subtracted. In some cases they track actual daily temps to produce heat indexes and in some cases they use seasonal averages to compute the index. The University of California at Davis invented heat units and they can be used to track all kinds of crops as well as insects. Each crop or insect has a different base temperature. For wine the base temperature is ten degrees celsius (50 deg fahrenheit). As usual, its all a little more complicated than discussed here. If you want to know more, read Joy Walterfang's article in the May / June 2000 issue of WineState.

The numbers in the map are keyed to the paragraphs below.

Northern Tasmanian Wine Regions:

1. North West:  Hawley House near Port Sorell, built in 1878, planted their first Pinot Noir grapes after 1989. Soils in this area are Tertiary Sediments and their rainfall is 1200 mm (47 inches).

2. Tamar Valley:  Europeans settled the Tamar Valley in the late 1700's with a main crop of apples. Grape growing didn't begin until the 1990s. Grapes are planted on both sides of the Tamar and to the south of Launceston in an area called Relbia. We visited David & Jan Jenkinson at their Bundaleera Vineyard in Relbia. The four of us sat in their back yard and tasted their award winning wines. We then all jumped in their four-wheel drive and toured the vineyard. It was one of our most pleasant afternoons.

They get about about 700 mm (28 inches) a year and frosts are common. Grapes are grown on mostly gravelly, basalt on a heavy clay and ironstone base. Vineyards not on the estuary shoreline are grown on Jurassic Dolerite. A beautiful area to visit, they plant their grapevines amongst eucalyptus on hills sloping to the water producing full flavored and deeply colored Pinot Noir.

3. Pipers River:  Jean Miguet, a fifth generation wine-maker from Provence, planted illegal cuttings (including Pinot Noir) here in 1956 to start Providence Vineyards. By 1976 he still did not did have approval to produce and sell his wines. He sold grapes to other wineries until 1986 when Providence contracted to have their wines made for them. Dr. Andrew Pirie established Pipers Brook Vineyard, the largest winery in Northern Tasmania in 1974. The Belgium company Kreglinger bought Pipers Brook Vineyard in 2002.

At the latitude of around 41 degrees, the weather is relatively mild throughout the year. They have 8-10 hours of sunshine December through March and relatively high humidity. They get 625-750 mm (25-30 inches) of rain each year. They plant their grapes on deep red in color acidic, friable clay grading to clay with good drainage, and moderate to high nutrient status. Most vineyards don't need irrigation.

Southern Tasmanian Wine Regions:

4. East Coast:  Grape growing began here in 1979 when John Austwick planted Craigie Knowe Vineyard. Following Craigie Knowe in the 1980s, Freycinet, Spring Vale, and Apsley Gorge Vineyards planted their vines. The soils consist mostly of sandy clay loams over blocky heavy clays. Often called "Tasmania's Suncoast", they enjoy a mild climate with no winter frosts or fogs. Their annual rainfall of 500 mm (20 inches) and most vineyards irrigate their vines.

5. Coal River Valley:  Located northeast of Hobart, the Coal River Valley includes the towns of Cambridge, Richmond, Campania and Tea Tree. The Coal River Region receives 500-600 mm (20-24 inches) of rain annually and most vineyards need irrigation in order to successfully grow grapes. In the 1980s, the Coal River Irrigation Scheme provided that irrigation. Frosts occur an average of nine times a year in this area.

6. Derwent River Region:  This area surrounds Tasmania's capitol city, Hobart. Bartholomew Broughton first planted grapes here in 1821 and won Tasmania's first international award at the Paris Exhibition in 1848. Claudio Alcorso restarted winemaking here in 1958 when he founded Moorilla Wines. Cuttings from a vine mother-stock nursery in 1857 helped start the first vineyards in Australia's Victoria and Barossa Valley.

Wineries establish their vineyards on patches of dark black peaty alluvial soils. A temperate maritime climate exists in the Derwent and they get about 630 mm (25 inches) of rain a year. They receive about 2100 hours of sunshine annually and experience infrequent frosts.

7. Huon River Valley:  In 1799, Lieutenant Bligh in the Bounty visited Adventure Bay and planted apple trees. Some think this was the beginning of the fruit growing industry in Tasmania. At almost 50 South latitude, this area many similarities to the Champagne region of France. The owner's of Hartzview Vineyards collected two years of climatic data showing those similarities and in 1988 planted Pinot Noir vines.

With a cool temperate maritime climate, the Huon River Valley experiences only rare frosts. They get relatively uniform rain throughout the year that averages about 850 mm (33 inches).

D'Entrecastreaux:  Not on the map, but south of Hobart, a few wineries have recently started in this area.

All of the wines listed in the newsletters are listed on the website. Previous reviews did not contain links to the wineries, which have been added, if available. Where possible, prices listed below have been taken from the winery website or other retail sources and are included for relative comparison only. Your price may be different.

WineryYearPriceRankDescription
Hartzview Vineyard
Huon Valley
2000   93 Medium intensity cherry colored wine. Bouquets of black currant, black pepper, spice and violets. Tastes of silky cherries and black pepper. A very long aftertaste.
Bundaleera Vineyard
Tamar Valley - Relbia
2000   92 Medium intensity ruby-garnet colored wine. Cherries and spice in the nose. Velvety, earthy cherry tastes and a long lingering aftertaste.
Bundaleera Vineyard
Tamar Valley - Relbia
2001   92 Medium intensity ruby-garnet colored wine. Earthy mushrooms and cherries in the nose. Velvety, earthy cherry tastes and a long lingering aftertaste.
Bundaleera Vineyard
Tamar Valley - Relbia
2002 A$31.95 92 Medium intensity ruby colored wine. Cherries and spice in the nose. Velvety, earthy cherry tastes and a long lingering aftertaste. Bronze Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Craigow Vineyard
Coal River Valley
2002 A$28.00 92 Black cherries and spice with a forest floor bouquet. Big bodied with tastes of black cherries and a long aftertaste.
ese Vineyards
Coal River Valley
2002   92 Dense purple wine with blackberry aromas. Velvety blackberry tastes. Long lingering aftertaste. Gold Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Freycinet Vineyard
East Coast
2001   92 Medium intensity ruby-garnet colored wine. Aromas of cherries, chocolate and spice. Gamey, earthy, cherry velvety tastes with a long aftertaste. Gold Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Home Hill Wines
Huon Valley
2002 A$35.00 92 Medium intensity cherry colored wine. Bouquets of black currant and licorice. Tastes of velvety earthy black currants.
Moorilla Estate White Label
Derwent River
2002   92 Dense purple wine with aromas of blackberry and spice. Tastes of velvety blackberries and a long lingering aftertaste. Silver Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Pipers Brook Vineyard
Pipers Brook
2002 A$36.00 92 Dense purple colored wine. Aromas of toasty blackberries and violets. Velvety dark fruit tastes with a very long aftertaste.
Silk Hill Wines Reserve
West Tamar Valley
2002   92 Dense purple colored wine. Smokey blackberry and spice bouquet. Big bodied wine with velvety black berry tastes and a long aftertaste. Silver Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Bream Creek Vineyard
East Coast
2002   91 Dense purple wine with blackberry aromas. Velvety blackberry tastes. Short astertaste. Gold Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Frogmore Creek Winery
Coal River Valley
2002   91 Dense purple wine with aromas of blackberry and spice. Tastes of blackberries and violets with a long lingering aftertaste. Gold Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Meadowbank Estate, Henry James
Coal River Valley
2002 A$41.00 91 Light intensity ruby colored wine. Aromas of earthy black cherries. Big bodied tastes of velvety black cherries with a long aftertaste. Bronze Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Delamere Vineyard
Pipers Brook
2002 A$32.00 90 Medium intensity ruby colored wine.
Rosevears Estate
West Tamar Valley
2002 A$37.00 90 Dense ruby colored wine. Earthy, Smokey Black Cherry bouquet. Medium bodied with black fruit tastes.
Bay of Fires
Pipers River
2001   89 Medium intensity ruby-garnet colored wine. Light earthy-cherry bouquet. Good body with velvety cherry flavors. Short aftertaste.
Domaine A
Coal River Valley
2000   89 Medium intensity ruby colored wine. Light but gamey aroma and bouquet. Good body with cherry flavors. Long aftertaste.
Holm Oak Vineyard
West Tamar Valley
2002 A$28.00 89 Bouquets of earthy blackberry and spice. Good bodied with tastes of black fruit. Bronze Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Meadowbank Estate
Coal River Valley
2003 A$28.00 89 Light intensity ruby colored wine. Aromas of smoke and cherries. Light bodied tastes of cherries with a long aftertaste.
Moorilla Estate Black Label
Derwent River
2003 A$24.00 89 Medium intensity cherry colored wine. Aromas of cherries and spice. Velvety cherry tastes with a medium length aftertaste.
Stoney Vineyards
Coal River Valley
2001   89 Medium intensity ruby colored wine. Gamey cherry bouquet with red fruit tastes and a long aftertaste.
Tamar Ridge Wines
West Tamar Valley
2002 A$29.00 89 Aromas and tastes of blackberries with a long lingering aftertaste.
Wellington Wines
Coal River Valley
2002   89 Dense purple wine with aromas of blackberry and spice. Tastes of velvety blackberries with a medium length aftertaste. Silver Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Crosswinds Vineyard
Coal River Valley
2000   88 Strawberry aromas accompanied with velvety red fruit tastes and a medium aftertaste. Gold Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Pooley Wines
Coal River Valley
2001   88 Medium intensity cherry colored wine. Aromas of cherries. Light bodied in the mouth with a long aftertaste. Silver Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Bream Creek Vineyard
East Coast
2001   87 Medium intensity ruby-garnet wine. Light bouquet. Velvety cherry tastes with a short aftertaste. Silver Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Hartzview Vineyard
Huon Valley
2001   87 Medium intensity ruby colored wine. Aromas of cherries and spice. Tastes of earthy cherries with a medium aftertaste. Bronze Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Silk Hill Wines
West Tamar Valley
2002   87 Dense purple colored wine. Aromas of blackberries. Velvety dark fruit tastes with a medium aftertaste. Silver Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Bay of Fires, Tigress
Pipers River
2001 A$27.67 86 Light intensity ruby colored wine. Light earthy-cherry bouquet. Light bodied but with a velvety cherry taste.
Home Hill Wines
Huon Valley
2001 A$30.00 86 Light intensity cherry colored wine. Earthy cherry and spice aromas. Light bodied tastes of raspberry with a medium aftertaste. Bronze Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Home Hill Wines, Kellys
Huon Valley
2001 A$35.00 86 Medium intensity cherry colored wine. Bouquets of earthy smokey mushrooms and black cherries. Tastes of earthy velvety dark fruit.
Panorama Vineyard
Huon Valley
2001 A$36.95 86 Medium intensity cherry colored wine. Aromas of cherries and violets. Light bodied in the mouth with a short aftertaste.
Tamar Ridge Wines
West Tamar Valley
2000   86 Medium intensity ruby-garnet colored wine. Light cherry spice aroma. Velvety cherry tastes and a long aftertaste. Silver Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Dalrymple Vineyards
Pipers Brook
2001 A$30.00 85 Light intensity ruby-garnet colored wine. Cherry and spice aromas. Light bodied but with a red fruit tastes. Silver Medal at the Tasmanian Wine Show
Delamere Vineyard
Pipers Brook
2001   85 Light intensity ruby colored wine. Light raspberry aromas. Light bodied but with a silky red fruit taste.
Home Hill Wines
Huon Valley
2003 A$15.00 85 Light intensity cherry colored wine. Cherry aromas. Light bodied tastes of raspberry with a medium aftertaste.
Moorilla Estate, St Matthias Vineyard
Derwent River
2003 A$22.00 85 Light intensity cherry colored wine. Spicy berry aromas and tastes.


Subsequent Newsletters: Will cover Australia; Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, and San Luis Obispo County; Burgundy; and other Pinot Noir growing areas.

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