There’s been a fair bit of press in Hobart recently about an industry drive that has started a campaign to distinguish “100 per cent Grown, Made and Bottled in Tasmania” from those that may be made from Tassie fruit, but made and bottled on the ‘Mainland.’ Whilst cool Tassie is so hot right now, there’s plenty of Big Island eyes peering over Bass Straight wondering how they can get a hip, with-it Tassie labelled Pinot into their line up. Sort of like the late 80s when everyone wanted a HyperColour t-shirt and a pair of Oakley Frogskins.
Whether or not you subscribe to the (real or imagined) fear that Tasmania will become a “grape mine;” that Mainland giants will be launching covert raids on Van Diemen’s Land via the Spirit of Tasmania, grape-napping tonnes of quality Pinot Noir and smuggling it back over the waves to only leave the Tasmanian wine industry with a few people who know how to prune in winter, there’s no doubt that the number of wine labels with Tasmanian fruit in them, probably isn’t sustainable in the long term and demand may outstrip supply.
Which brings us to Berton Vineyards, based in the Riverina region of NSW but also with vineyards in the High Eden, releasing a Tasmanian Pinot Noir at $20 RRP. To me this is a folly and hopefully a once off exercise. I don’t see a rosy future of Australian wine industry when one of the 20 largest wineries isn’t investing in alternative grape crops, that they can harvest at a relatively young age for fruit driven drinking styles, but instead purchasing fruit from a finite supply, to ensure they’re keeping up the pace, and heading full tilt at the opposition.
Berton Vineyards, Reserve Pinot Noir Tasmania, 2013
No indication of which area in Tasmania the fruit is from, north, south or east. Light and clear cerise in the glass. Fruit driven. Cherry and raspberry with plenty of spice. Some cedary oak giving a woody lift. Easy on the palate. Plenty of sour dark cherry fruit balanced with smoky meaty herby funk. Fruit falls away as the medium acidity jousts through and the tannin grips onto the reins. Not quite delicate enough to be refined, not quite full bodied enough to muscular.
Alc: (bottle label) 13.5%
Alc: (tech sheet): 13.71%
Wine sample courtesy of Berton Vineyards