With the sparkling bases and aromatic whites of 2016 now in bottle, there are already signs that this year's busy vintage successfully combined quality with quantity, a rare feat in Tasmania's cool maritime climate. The State's 230 individual vineyards harvested a record crop of 15,343 tonnes in 2016, according to industry body Wine Tasmania. A large proportion of it – around 35% – was committed to sparkling wine production.
That neatly mirrors our decision to produce more fab fizz in 2016. In addition to perennial favourites Crux Vintage and Crux NV, we now have Blanc-de-Blancs and Rosé wines resting quietly in the cellars of our contract winemakers. These looked particularly impressive before secondary fermentation, but only time in bottle will reveal their ultimate quality.
This year's Riesling wines – under Roaring 40s and Cygnus labels – are looking very promising indeed, as we have come to expect from our trophy-winning vines. The Roaring 40s is having a little rest after bottling before its official release around New Year. (Its rapier acidity makes it an ideal partner for fresh oysters in our French Bistro as the wine is considerably brighter and drier than the 97-rated wine from 2015.)
Barrel-fermented Chardonnay and the red wines of 2016 should bring joy to consumers when they eventually make the journey from barrique to bottle in 2017. They are slightly lighter than in recent vintages, but have wonderful aromatics and length of flavour.
The surprise packets are bound to be the two wines we have made from our 3ha of Shiraz. While the barrel-aged components destined to become Musca Syrah still have a long haul in front of them, another parcel has been bottled early for release under our Riversdale Estate label. In style, it has much in common with the wines of Crozes-Hermitage in France's Rhone Valley. Importantly, it is rich, ripe and juicy. Stay tuned…