Tolpuddle Coal River Valley Chardonnay
Located about a 20-minute drive from Hobart, in Tasmania’s south-east, the CoalRiver Valley has established a reputation for growing exceptional quality grapes. With a climate that is at the cool extremes for viticulture, it is no surprise that Chardonnay and Pinot Noir perform so splendidly. An anomaly for such a cool climate is that the rainfall is significantly lower than many of Australia’s other cool climate regions, with an average of approximately 500mm of rain per year. This cool but relatively dry climate allows the grapes to ripen slowly in autumn, without the disease pressure that rain can bring, resulting in grapes of great aromatic intensity.
Tolpuddle Vineyard is an outstanding site within the Coal River Valley region. Planted in 1988 solely to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the vineyard takes its name from the Tolpuddle Martyrs, whose“reward” for starting England’s first agrarian union was to be transported to Tasmania as convicts. The vineyard is on a gentle slope, northeast facing. The soil is light silica sand over sandstone, and of moderate vigour, ensuring well-balanced vines. Since acquiring the vineyard in 2011, Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith have invested heavily in improving all aspects of the vineyard, including soil improvement, conversion to cane pruning, trellis modifications, frost protection and clonal improvements. They are fully committed to seeing it recognised as one of Australia’s great single vineyard sites.
This wine is true to the TolpuddleVineyard Chardonnay style: fine and precise with firm acidity, and a combination of lightness of texture and intensity of flavour. This vintage has succulence and power, with great purity, aromas of white flowers, and flavours of mandarin and white peach, with a dash of sea spray. The grapes were all hand-picked, whole bunch pressed, and fermented in French oak. The wine spent nine months in barrel with gentle stirring as required, then rested in the tank on lees.