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Australian Wine Region – Tasmania
THE ISLAND OF PLENTY
The small island state to the south is a treasure trove of stunning landscapes, fresh produce and world class premium wines. Tasmania’s wine credentials are based on quality over quantity. There are seven sub-regions on Tasmania including: The Tamar Valley, Pipers River, East Coast, North West, Down South, Coal River Valley and North of Hobart.
The maritime influence from the Tasman Sea creates a cool climate in Tasmania which is ideal for producing excellent examples of Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay and the most famous of all, their sparkling wines. Tasmania has more than 160 producers and only 1,750 hectares planted in grapes, producing less than 1% of Australia’s wine but more than 10% of the premium wine segment.
THE TAMAR VALLEY
The Tamar Valley Is located in the heart of the northern region of Tasmania around the Tamar river. Tamar produces 40% of Tasmania’s premium wine and is the biggest producer in the state. Winemaking in Tamar can be traced back to the mid 1800’s even before Victoria’s and South Australia’s winemaking history began, In fact, Tamar Valley is credited for being the source of the cuttings for the first vineyards in Victoria and South Australia.
Tamar Valley is located at latitude 42 degrees south and shares similar cool climate characteristics to Cote d’Or in Burgundy. The white wines of the region are elegant and fresh, typical varieties produced in ‘the Valley’ are Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc. Pinot Noir is the red wine hero with notes of fragrant cherry and raspberry in the lower Tamar to the earthy, truffle and black cherry notes to the north.
To the north-east of the bustling city of Launceston is Pipers River, Australia’s answer to Champagne and not just because of the similarity in climate. The locals call Pipers River ‘Sparkling Tasmania’ as a nod to the regions ability to produce sparkling wines of impeccable structure that go head to head with the very best from Champagne. Andrew Pirie from Pipers Brook Vineyard is widely regarded as the pioneer of the region. Pipers River is also home to Janz, Tasmania’s first winery to produce sparkling wine according to the traditional methode champenoise method. Since the first vintage, legal issues has meant that the Janz sparkling wine can no longer be called methode champenoise – so Janz have a tongue in cheek alternative they call Methode Tasmanoise.