Source: Horizon (onboard magazine of TurboJet) July 2017, Van Diemen’s Wines - Head for the cool climes of Tasmania and discover Australian wine life after shiraz
Text Elizabeth Kerr
Visit Josef Chromy Vineyard and Winery and sample fine Tasmanian cuisine made with fresh local produce at its restaurant.
Tasmania is something of a maverick within Australia. The often-overlooked sixth state is arguably the country’s most singular, in every sense of the word. Situated 240 kilometres off the southern coast, Tasmania has embraced its penal colony heritage – many of the regenerated buildings in the capital, Hobart, were built by convicts – and its rugged natural beauty to carve out a distinct, independent personality for itself and its inhabitants.
There’s no disputing the power of Barossa Valley reds, but look beyond the headlines and revel in the way Tasmanian wines effortlessly blend tradition and innovation. Tasmania grows some of Australia’s best produce and, since roughly the 1950s, that has (regularly) included the grapes form its vibrant, burgeoning wine regions. Earlier in its history, European migrants brought viticulture with them; recognising similar soils and conditions to those in Europe’s great wine regions, they set to work. The earliest vine plantings date to the mid-19th century.
Tasmania’s dolerite-heavy mountains, cool temperatures and sandstone soils make for a unique terroir. The maritime climate – mild summers and plenty of autumn daylight – is free of the kind of extremes that can wreak havoc on temperamental vines. It also allows for slow maturation and maximum flavour, acid and sugars in the grapes.
Given the climate, it’s no surprise the fussy pinot noir (try: Josef Chromy Pinot Noir; Zdar Pinot Noir) dominates Tasmania’s 200-plus vineyards, with chardonnay, Riesling (Josef Chromy Riesling, SGR Delikat Riesling, Botrytis Riesling), pinot gris (Josef Chromy Pinot Gris) and sauvignon blanc (Josef Chromy Sauvignon Blanc) chipping in. There’s even room for chewy dessert wines (Josef Chromy Ruby Pinot) and zingy sparkling wines (Josef Chromy Sparkling Cuvees NV).
Next time you want to step out of your comfort zone, head across the Bass Strait. There’s more to Australia than just shiraz.