When you buy a wine from Victoria, it will almost certainly be labelled as being from the Yarra Valley, or Mornington Peninsula. If you choose a bottle from New South Wales, it will probably be labelled as from the Hunter Valley or Mudgee.
Most Tasmanian wines, however, are still labelled as simply “Tasmania”. That is because there are no official geographic indicators (GIs) in the state and the entire island is regarded as one region. But that may soon change if some leading winemakers have their way.
Jim Chatto from Pinot Noir specialist Chatto Wines in the Huon Valley, has called for more wines labelled as “Tamar Valley” or “Coal River Valley” rather than just “Tasmania”. “We need to come of age and accept that Tasmania is a whole lot more than more than one GI,” Chatto says. “It is a really dynamic place, but the regions are very different. Look at the Huon Valley in the south of the state and Pipers River in the north; they are producing different styles of wine.
“Those differences are part of the story of Tasmanian wine and should be celebrated. They enrich the whole story. Overall, I can see exponential growth and improvement in quality as people choose not only the right vineyard sites, but also the correct grape varieties and right clones.”
The Tasmanian wine industry is already a lot more versatile than many of us imagine, with Sparkling Wines, Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays being joined by an ever-increasing range of Rosés, Pinot Grigios and other styles. ■
FESTIVE TASSIE WINES
Freycinet Vineyard 2018 Riesling Full of youthful vibrancy and vigour, this is a quintessential summer wine. Floral with bright citrus fruit flavours on the palate, it finishes bone dry and is a perfect companion for prawns, scallops or fresh fish dishes. $28.
Glaetzer-Dixon 2014 La Judith Pinot Noir Looking for a special bottle to celebrate the holiday period? This is made in tiny quantities by multi-award-winning Nick Glaetzer. It is a serious, beautifully integrated wine with power, persistence and precision. $220.
MacLean Bay 2018 Rosé This is the ideal wine for enjoying on the deck with post-Christmas salads. Made from Pinot Noir grapes grown on a small vineyard outside Bicheno, it is estate-grown and hand-picked, has strawberry fruit flavours and finishes with bright, fresh acid crispness. $35