Tolpuddle was established in 1988 in the Coal River Valley of Tasmania, an area known for producing exceptional wines. The winery is named after the ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’, a group of convicts transported to Australia for starting an agricultural union; George Loveless, their leader, spent some of his prison sentence working on a farm where the vineyard is now located. In 2011, ‘Tolpuddle’ was purchased by Martin Shaw and Michael Hill-Smith, of ‘Shaw + Smith’, though the business had not been on the market until an offer was made and accepted. The vineyard is ‘perfect’, with ‘20 hectares of mature Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines planted on a long even slope, with lean soils, forests above and water below and great vineyard exposure.’ The vineyard is planted with different clones of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Whilst Chardonnay can produce interesting and varied wines in cool, temperate or hot climates, Pinot Noir prefers cool areas, due to its delicate nature. Fruit from the vineyard has been included in sparkling wines by the renowned makers Arras and Heemskerk, and has won the inaugural ‘Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania’s Vineyard of the Year Award’ in 2006. The wines are made by Adam Wadewitz, a very experienced winemaker who also works on Martin and Michael’s ‘Shaw + Smith’ brand in the Adelaide Hills.
The ‘Coal River Valley Chardonnay’ is a great representation of a cool-climate Chardonnay with lemon, blossom, honeysuckle and stone aromas, with taut acidity and stone fruit and mineral on the palate. The ‘Coal River Valley Pinot Noir’ is intensely aromatic with red fruits and savoury spice, and a refined palate of forest berries, smoke and spice on the palate, which will only improve with some cellar age.
For more information on Tolpuddle and their wines, head to the website.