In late September Steve and Monique Lubiana invited myself and some other trade from Sydney and Melbourne down to their part of the world. That part of the world is Granton on the River Derwent – less than 30 minutes drive North-West from Hobart.
It’s a spectacular spot, and the Lubiana’s have done a great job of making sure that their winery matches its beautiful environment. It’s understated and very welcoming, and it was the scene of a long lunch on our first day in Tasmania. Before that though we spent the morning with Steve wandering through their vineyards looking at the differences in soil, aspect and elevation that make each Pinot plot unique to the other. Of course this was done with a bottle and glass in hand which is honestly the best way to understand how site translates into what it is you are tasting when drinking wine.
A lot of the discussion was based around organics and biodynamics and it is safe to say that the Lubiana’s are the undisputed kings and queens when it comes to this topic in Tasmania. (They are the only certified biodynamic producer in the state). Everything that is done on the property (not just growing grapes but growing other vegetables too, plus raising composts and sprays for crops) is done organically. And according to Steve, the land has never been healthier since they made this transition away from herbicides and pesticides.
The improvements that Steve has seen at his site are also very evident in the wines he is making. An hour spent in the barrel room below the winery was confirmation that the wines are looking as good as I can recall. There is plenty to look forward to in coming years, as what is in barrel currently will eventually make it to market and into the hands of some of our customers here in Paddington.
It’s hard to say what Steve does best. Is it his range of sparkling wines that compete with the very best Australia has to offer? Or is it the single site Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that help explain the country’s growing thirst for cool climate Tasmanian wine?
All in all a great few days spent on the Apple Isle, finished off with a visit to the Huon Valley where Steve and Monique have recently bought land. Already planted to a number of varieties, this will be the site of their Huon project where son Marco will have more control and will play around with close planting and other viticultural and winemaking techniques they the family is keen to further explore. Tasting the first Pinot Noir release from this site (vintage 2018), all signs are pointing in the right direction.