Thursday, June 29, 2006

Tasmania, the hidden jewel

In my last trip to Australia for my master degree residential block, I am blessed to have met a great gentleman who is a restructuring plastic surgeon (mainly for those who are hurt by accidents) as well as a vineyard owner in Tasmania. Through him, I tasted my first Tasmanian Riesling (I recalled it is vintage 2004). It is made with such finesse that reminds me of grapefruits and green guava on the nose, taste like smooth fruity yogurt invigorated by the typical pungent minerality that is only unique of German Riesling. The finishing is long, lingered with citricity. Overall, it is a very fine piece of art and I would imagine that it is made with passion and undivided dedication.

After this experience, I decided to research on Tasmania and realize that it is a hidden jewel amidst the many Australia islands. Although the history of winemaking is only as recent as 1970s, Tasmania’s cool climate has yielded results that are comparable to those in Alsace and Germany where wines are light to medium body, good levels of natural acids which gives the wine its crisp and fresh character. Upon further research, Tasmania has more than 60 vineyards and wineries, all filled with enthusiastic owners. Most importantly, it is an eco-friendly island with fresh air and healthy soil. To date, most of the international grapes have been planted in Tasmania for winemaking. I have tasted the great Riesling which I believe has been under-rated so far in the market. Its Pinot Noir is another great find. They are outstanding, comparable with that of the Burgundy’s at half of its price.

Comparing Tasmania with the old world wine producing region, I will tend to see its similarities with that of Alsace in France for its climate and the geographical location relative to its respective parent country. I will expect great Riesling, Gewurztraminer to be made from Tasmania, given its natural climatic affinity. So, it is time to watch out for the Tassie labels that produce great tasting wine which will surprise your palate and have you asking for more!

By Cher Lim
Wine Treasures Pte Ltd



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