Tolpuddle Pinot Noir 2021

$96.00

It’s hard to believe that Tolpuddle celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, but I remember being impressed by the wines at the launch, and I still await each release with a similar enthusiastic impatience. This year’s looks good already: perfumed macerated strawberry and raspberry notes with some dark cherry and boysenberry in the bass. There are hints of Chinese five-spice, rhubarb, mushroom broth, sous bois, forest floor and rain falling on turned earth, with perhaps just a whiff of struck flint in the distance. The whole-bunch component here is beautifully judged, the palate shape sleek and possessing ample tension and grace, gentle tannin support weighing in as the wine sails away into the distance. Seamless drinking now but will reward those with patience. 96 points – Dave Brookes, Halliday Wine Companion 2024

 

 

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Tasmanian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is lumped together as a singular regional mass, but Tolpuddle and Stargazer amongst others have laid down the gauntlet for the Coal River Valley as the best region for these hallowed varietals. The vineyard was established in 1988 so by the time Michael Hill Smith MW and Martin Shaw purchased the property, 20 beautiful hectares of vineyards had already earned itself a reputation.

From strength to strength as the saying goes. Mature vines ideally situated will always make excellent wines but under the direction of two of the most talented men in the industry, this has become a vital and benchmark estate. The Chardonnay is all high toned brightness. Tense, rich, deep, subtly textured, focused and mineral. Tangy fruit, zingy citrus, and mid-palate stuffing to calm the nerves.

If the Chardonnay is paying homage to the limestone vineyards of St Aubin, the Pinot Noir is a nod to Volnay or Savigny-les-Beaune. Floral, pretty, spicy, a compote of red, black and hedge fruits. Angular in youth, intense, lifted and high toned, mellowing to softness, with game, autumnal notes and a pelt of silk tannic fur. But it’s the tannins that sets apart Tolpuddle and the Coal River Valley from any other region in Australia. They are firm, you can taste them, fine and long. Such natural tannins and high levels of a natural acidity produce wines of elemental structure and singular fruit-focused purpose. Oak, handled well, softens and finesses the edges, rounding the body, gathers the fruit and harnesses the structure. A highwater mark in Australian wine production.

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