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TAS Country : August 11th 2011
6 Tasmanian Country Friday, August 12, 2011 Viticulture Climate change gives 'It wasn't so long ago that wine experts were laughing up their sleeves at the thought of Tasmania producing wines from fully ripened cabernet sauvignon grapes.' from the VINE Graeme Phillips IN his newly-released 2012 Australian Wine Com- panion James Halliday writes of the state's pinot noir describing it as ''the El Dorado for this variety and the best is still to come''. He's no doubt right. And there's no doubt either that the hundreds of small- batch pinot noir and clonal trials undertaken by Ta- mar Ridge, Pipers Brook, Pressing Matters and oth- ers in recent years, as well as Dr Bob Dambergs' re- search into pinot noir winemaking techniques, will significantly contrib- ute to Halliday's ''the best is still to come''. But if the climate scien- tists are to be believed, we might be backing the wrong horse. Because of all Tas- mania's agricultural prod- ucts, grapes are the most sensitive to temperature. As little as a two degree increase in average tem- peratures would have an effect on the varieties and styles of wine we can best produce. Some forecasts predict the effects of climate change will be minimised in areas like Tasmania through the air- conditioning influence of their large surrounding bodies of water. Against this is the disturbing fact that the water temperature off the East Coast is rising faster than anywhere else in the country. It wasn't so long ago that wine experts were laugh- ing up their sleeves at the thought of Tasmania pro- ducing wines from fully- ripened cabernet sauvignon grapes. The international ac- claimed Domaine A cabernets have clearly proved them wrong. Now another producer is consistently turning off cabernets sufficiently ripe to carry Barossan-like 14.8 per cent levels of alcohol. Perhaps an even more telling pointer to the future is the Chartley Estate 2010 Botrytised Riesling, which was picked at a sugar level of 32 Baume -- the highest ever heard of in Tasmania -- to produce a wine similar in lusciousness, weight and texture to the dessert semillons one sees from the hot Riverland region of NSW. And, despite his love of pinot, Halliday has pre- viously exhorted Tas- mania not to give up on shiraz, a variety even more heat-loving than cabernet. With Moorilla Estate's 2005 Reserve Syrah (shi- raz) beating some of the best from the Barossa and McLaren Vale to pick up an international gold med- al a few years ago, Halliday may be right. But the only vineyards growing shiraz are Drew and Glen Ayr in the Coal River Valley; Peppermint Hills at Bagdad; Grey Sands, Roseburn, Water- ton, Velo and Moorilla at St Matthias in the Tamar; and Flinders Island Wines. And, if shiraz, why not other Rhone Valley varieties like marsanne and roussanne of which we have no plantings at all -- and viognier which is cur- rently only being grown at Grey Sands and Marion's in the Tamar Valley and at Sugarloaf Ridge at Carlton River? Lubiana and Domaine A have shown that merlot has a future in the state and, while limited trials with nebbiolo from Italy's Piedmont region have to date proved disappointing, there are the warm-climate Spanish varietals temp- ranillo from Panorama and Clarence House and albarino from Tamar Ridge. They were recent releases which show great promise. Whether any of these varieties will come to play an important role down the track remains to be seen. But, while pinot noir may not be the wrong horse, with climate change hanging over us, we might be better off backing it for a place rather than a win. Cool symposium TASMANIA will host the International Cool Climate Symposium in February next year with the doyenne of British wine journalists, Jancis Robinson, as a keynote speaker. Here's a link to the video invite which Wine Tasmania and Brand Tasmania hope people will pass on to as many of their contacts as possible. http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=WtnUsw UrvEA&feature=channel ---video---title If you didn't complete your Census form there's still time. Thank you to everyone around Austral who filled out their Census forms. We'll start returning to your homes to collect paper for August 10, so please have your completed form ready. I completed the eCensus for your whole household, don't need to return. It is compulsory, so please joi the rest of Australia to shed some light on who we are -- and light the way forward for your community. Fill out your form and wait for us to collect it, or complete your form online at census.gov.au If you didn't receive a form, please call the Census Inquiry Service on 1300 338 776.
August 4th 2011
August 18th 2011