Interviewing Tasmania’s biggest Shiraz producer, Jimmy Watson Trophy Winner Nick Glaetzer
Drier and warmer than the rest of Tasmania, the southerly Coal River Valley has form when it comes to vinous surprises. Who would have believed Zinfandel could be grown on this cool climate island, less still that Stoney Vineyard’s 1982 Zin (pictured below) would still be in the game.
In the 90s, Stoney Vineyard’s then new owners, Domaine A’s Peter & Ruth Althaus, went on to prove that their vineyard could also produce very distinguished Cabernet Sauvignon (Merlot too if the 98 I tasted earlier this week is anything to go by).
Most recently young gun Nick Glaetzer was described as having “lobbed a hand grenade into the wine industry” when his Tasmanian Shiraz – Glaetzer-Dixon Mon Père Shiraz 2010 – scooped last year’s Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy.
First awarded in 1962 and then annually to the producer of the best one or two-year-old dry red wine in the Royal Melbourne Wine Show, it’s one of the most prestigious wine awards in Australia.
I caught up with Glaetzer this week to find out more about this incendiary cool climate Shiraz which, forget the wine industry, must have caused ructions at the family table! Dad, after the whom the wine is named Mon Père, is renowned Barossa Shiraz winemaker Colin Glaetzer, while Nick’s brother is none other than Ben Glaetzer of Amon-Ra fame.
Here’s my tasting note on the soon to be released Trophy-winner. It was made at Frogmore Creek where Glaetzer has been Senior Winemaker since putting down roots in Tasmania in 2006.
Glaetzer-Dixon Mon Père Shiraz 2010
This wine was a first on a number of levels. My first Tassie Shiraz and my first ever Shiraz to have been co-fermented with Pinot Gris (around 3%). Glaetzer told me that it performed best of trials he conducted in the Barossa co-fermenting Shiraz with Viognier and Semillon as well as Pinot Gris. While it may sound new fangled, turn back the clock and, in days past, Shiraz was co-fermented with white grapes varieties including Muscadelle in the Barossa and Trebbiano in the Hunter Valley.
An enticing, perfumed nose and palate with lovely warp and weft to its firm but ripe tannins shows lifted white pepper and incense spice with juicy blood plum, sweet damson jam, black olive and charcuterie notes. Mid-weight but intense, concentrated and with good acid and tannin structure, it’s a very attractive, digestible cool climate Shiraz. A worthy winner and a shot across the bows for the mainland.