East Coast Wine Trail

East Coast Wine Trail
East Coast Wine Trail

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Meet a new Tasmanian wine range worth seeking out

If you enjoy quirky, individual cool-climate wines from Tasmania please allow me to introduce you to Rivulet Wines. 

This is the impressive personal project of Keira O'Brien, who makes wines for Bream Creek and Elsewhere Vineyard, among others, in her full-time job at Tasmanian Vintners (formerly Winemaking Tasmania). 

O'Brien has used her impressive contacts list to source fruit from several of the best vineyards in the state; but she's not playing it safe with all three wines in the range offering a point of difference. 

The trio comprises the 2018 Rivulet Senko ($38) an intriguing blend of pinot meunier and pinot noir from the Huon Valley), the 2018 Rivulet Riesling ($38) and the multi-regional and aromatic 2018 Le Tang white blend ($31); a melange of chardonnay, riesling and skin-fermented siegerrebe (a rare German grape) made in collaboration with sommelier Wiremu Andrews.

The siegerrebe is grown at Priory Ridge on the East Coast and has characters similar to gewurztraminer. The funky blend has a definite tang on the palate, hence the name. 

The riesling, a certain cellaring prospect,  is from vines planted in 1974 at Bream Creek - the oldest riesling vines in the state. O'Brien says: "Sugar, acid and phenolics are balanced to create tension, purity and energy."

The Senko, meanwhile, (a Japanese word meaning bright flash or firecracker) is absolutely fascinating with its textural elements. 

Wild fermented with hand plunging, basket pressed and matured in old French oak puncheons for eight months; unfined and only gently filtered, this is a light red that could easily stand a chill in summer. 

I expect city somms to snatch this one up.

"Rivulet Wines an opportunity to work with fruit I see as a bit special and tilt the winemaking a little more playfully," O'Brien says. 

"It's all small scale stuff, and the name is a bit of a riff on that - tiny trickles of wine, rivulets of sweat on the brow." Note: In Tasmania small streams are called rivulets and the beautifully crafted labels by David Campbell reflect that. 

For details and orders see www.rivuletwine.com or try Cool Wine in Hobart. 



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