Arguably my favourite Australian wine region (well, wine regions), a recent invitation to Tasmania was never going to be turned down. The offer came from David Burkitt, the NSW wholesaler for Tassie producers including Pooley, Mewstone and Sailor Seeks Horse. It was the former who had invited us to their end of vintage party – a long lunch on a Friday afternoon at the cellar door.
It was a lunch of endless courses of food and some fantastic bottles of wine from home and afar. Standouts included Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey St Aubin 1er ‘Marguerite’, Laurent Roumier Chambolle Musigny, Yeringberg Cabernet and of course a range of Pooley wines, of which I am always a sucker for the Syrah.
Hours sitting around the table disappeared quite quickly and by sundown we were off to dinner at Greg Melick’s place – owner of Pressing Matters (particularly good off-dry Riesling, amongst other things). Greg has a very impressive cellar and his generosity was unbelievable. Let’s just say I have had my share of Grand Cru Burgundy for quite a while (thank you Greg).
We took our rest at Prospect House – a newly opened boutique hotel owned by the Pooleys in the Coal River. Quick tip – this is a fantastic place to stay for anyone planning a few nights in Tasmania. In the morning we were up and on the road, on our way to the Huon Valley to visit Paul of Sailor Seeks Horse and Jim Chatto of Chatto. We tried some fantastic wines from the two of them (highlights being Paul’s new Pinot ‘Huldufolk’ and Jim’s yet-to-be-released ‘Isle’ Pinot 2018) yet the mood was somewhat sombre as we were shown the damage that the January fires did to the region meaning smoke taint completely destroyed any hope of a crop from vintage 2019 for both producers.
Later in the day we visited the boys at Mewstone (who were far enough away to avoid any smoke taint) and tried through their wines at their spectacular site in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. A great introduction to the wines for me as we have not stocked these before at FWC.
The conclusion to the trip was another extravagant dinner at Prospect House with more Burgundy than you could poke a stick at. David Duband Echezeaux and Sylvain Cathiard Vosne Romanee 1er Cru the winners on the night. But what was honestly a real eye-opener was the range of wines (particularly Pinots and Chardonnays) shown to us by the Pooleys. Their 2018s which are soon to be released are as good as you’ll get from anywhere in Tasmania, and listening to Anna talk of the long term vision for Pooley is very exciting indeed. Stay tuned for an offer on some of these wines later in the year.