December Wines of the Month: Tasmanian fruit & flower day amphora-aged Pinot Noirs
I tasted so many terrific wines in Australia last month that it has been horribly hard to choose my December Wines of the Month. But I am guided by the principles of this site. So this is not about what’s available on the high street or what’s topical (so it doesn’t have to be a Port or a stocking filler etc etc) – the newspaper columns can do that for you.
Rather, it’s about what really surprised and scintillated me. Wines that I reckon will set your pulse racing and, in this case, gratify the grey cells into the bargain. All told, utterly compelling wines which are well worth seeking out. Even if you have to go to Hobart and back!
And that certainly distinguishes the wines of Nav Singh and Louise Radman of Domaine Simha, Tasmania. The packaging may be slick and the cellar door’s setting at Brooke Street Pier James Bond-ian (James Bondi to Aussify it?), but trust me, these wines display the lightest of touches – a super-skilled hand at the tiller.
The result? Emphatically fine-framed, yet textured, perfumed wines (check out my recent report here which also covers their Rieslings and Gamay).
Domaine Simha Beauregard Amphora 2015 (Tasmania)
Domaine Simha make two Pinot Noirs from the same vineyard and clone (114), one harvested on a flower day, the other on a fruit day (Lotus Riesling pictured left is harvested on a fruit day). Beauregard (the flower day example) was fermented with 100% whole bunch for 3 months in amphora, then pressed and aged for another 6-8 months. Neither cuvée sees oak. It has a stemmy nose with carbonic peony lift and a textural, very subtle palate. Delicious fruit tannins here – a little slippery, all soft skins/pulp, the palate flecked with dried sweet spices and sluiced with minerals and red cherry fruit. Ultra fine and perfumed, very long and seductive, it has incredible intensity and delicacy both – uncommon levity. AUS$65 at the cellar door.
Domaine Simha Lionheart Amphora 2015 (Tasmania)
As for the other cuvée, it could not be more different. If I didn’t know, I’d have guessed it was made from the MV6 clone. The tannins are denser, the fruit darker and this wine already reveals earthy mushroom notes (all within a delicate frame). But it finds the fruit too. Coltsfoot/aniseed riffs emerge on a spicy, pithy finish. Very good and thoroughly intriguing alongside Beauregard. When I blended the two, the outcome was a more conventional, if less interesting wine. AUS$65 at the cellar door.
In case you’re wondering why the oysters, should you visit, I can also highly recommend The Glass House restaurant in the same Hobart waterfront building – Brookes Pier.