The Tolpduddle Vineyard located in the Coal River Valley, approx 25 kms from Hobart in southern Tasmania. Named after the Tolpuddle Martyrs who were sent to Van Diemen’s Land (the colonial/penal name for Tasmania) and were forced to labour ‘Poverty Farm:” the very site where the vineyard now stands. The cross shovels of the logo are testament to their history. Purchased by Shaw + Smith around 7 years ago, they’ve worked hard in the vineyard with their award winning vine guru Carlos Souris to tweak elements here and there: changing the eucalyptus wind break lines and planting new close-planted vines; updating the irrigation systems; changing the trellis wires so the fruit is on the eastern side rather than the more exposed westerly and an intimate cropping and leaf thinning regime (still being perfected). An incredible story in such a short space of time that is still on an upward trajectory.
Tolpuddle, Chardonnay, 2012
The first vintage under the new custodianship by the Shaw + Smith family. still with a green edge of Dorian Gray youth. Green Apple, Elderflower with roudned edges. Dripping with lime and a fresh pierce of acidity. Many years left.
Tolpuddle, Chardonnay, 2013
Adam Wadewitz first vintage after coming from Great Western (Mount Langhi Giran and Seppelt). A product of vintage (see notes on the pinot noir below). Sea spray and brine. There’s still a primary, lean character with stone and lemon citrus. The odd one out.
Tolpuddle, Chardonnay, 2014
The family portrait returns to siblings, rather than cousins. Floral with apple skin. A slightly warmer vintage this has blossomed with riper, rounder edges and a hint of melon. The acidity is present but has begun to integrate than than dominate.
Tolpuddle, Chardonnay, 2015
Welcome to the next gear. Changes to small elements of the vineyard management over the years (canopy and trellising), along with a simply cracking vintage in Tasmania have delivered a lime, apple and stonefruit racy beasty. 100% Malolactic fermentation give dollops of cream, but still not enough to damper the vibrant acidity and sheer energy. Number 2 in the line up for me (just)
Tolpuddle, Chardonnay, 2016
So primary: like awakening a sleepwalker. Hush now, close your eyes. Struck match sulfides, with round and creamy primary characters, offering a hint of melon fruit. Acidity is present, but suppressed from undeniably fresh winemaking (oak and MLF). Let the sleeper slumber some more.
Tolpuddle, Chardonnay, 2017
Youth is often praised, desired and coveted. Here, the sheer purity and lightness of the wine becalms all those before it. Maybe a hint of stone fruit. A glimpse of apple. Time will tell. Buy without fear.
Tolpuddle Pinot Noir
A mixture of clones, predominantly the MV6 workhorse. New vines going into the ground, filling the space where the ill-planted eucalypt wind breaks once stood, are now close planted.
Tolpuddle, Pinot Noir, 2012
Made by Martin Shaw. Still vibrant, only hints of maturity creeping through. Pepper and briar: sweet raspberry and cherry fruit. Holding line and length.
Tolpuddle, Pinot Noir, 2013
Also made by Martin Shaw and like its sibling the chardonnay, the odd one in the line up. A light edge to the colour in the glass. There’s a distinct salt and gunpowder nose alongside the red fruits. Familial resemblance sure, but a much skinnier, leaner edition.
Tolpuddle, Pinot Noir, 2014
Adam Wadewitz’s first vintage for the pinot. 40% whole bunch. Fragrant rosewater, the cherry and raspberry red fruits over earthier tones: turned earth, gravel and rhubarb. A distinct meaty bacon edge is not unpleasant.
Tolpuddle, Pinot Noir, 2015
A very good vintage starting to slot into the groove: some richer tones showing through with chocolate and black strap licorice over earthy beet vegetables and layers of red fruits. The finish with a hint of brine, is long and swarthy.
Tolpuddle, Pinot Noir, 2016
Still so primary! Earth depth along a carpet roll of tannin with a grassiness and almost minty herb nuance. The shy one of the group. Have patience.
Tolpuddle, Pinot Noir, 2017
Just released and showing like a rock star already. An amalgam of spice over bright rose and cherry. The near perfect structure and length of flavour make this irresistible.
Wine sample tasting courtesy of Tolpuddle