As an avid champagne lover, it is difficult not to compare Australian sparkling wine styles with their French counterparts. It is neither fair nor practical. They’re different styles.
This was satisfyingly illustrated by a sparkling tasting on the last afternoon, hosted at Stefano Lubiana’s new cellar door in the beautiful Coal River Valley (if you haven’t been there I would put it on the list). The tasting included 6 still base wines to look at (stingingly sharp acidity due to early picking but a surprising amount of charm, texture and expression), followed by 22 of the most premium sparkling wines to be made in Tasmania.
The standouts were the Arras wines, and the Clover Hill sparklings, which time and time again proved to be so classically structured and delicious that I didn’t mark a wine under 18.3 points. Some of the wines boasted time on lees for up to 11 years! I was absolutely staggered… these wines are a screaming bargain for the quality in the bottle. Their crops are so small it’s difficult to understand how they can make any money… but one thing is for sure and certain – the Tasmanian sparkling wine industry is a force to be reckoned with. They are the best sparkling wines in Australia without question, and as Australians, we can be VERY proud of that.