Stargazer pays tribute to Abel Tasman, who as an explorer and navigator, must have spent a fair amount of time gazing towards the heavens. Tasman, a Dutchman under the employ of the United East India Company was the first European to sight Tasmania (on 24 November 1642) and then the South Island of New Zealand, nineteen days later on 13 December. He is a natural link for me, having been born and bred a South Islander, and now having fallen in love with another island, Tasmania. The opportunity to work with pristine fruit to craft the wines that I am passionate about in an environment of extraordinary beauty is really all I have ever wanted to do as a winemaker. It would be an understatement to say it been a crazy start to the year for Stargazer and me. I thought there would be plenty of time to get acquainted with my new surroundings in Hobart, having packed up my house, my wine cellar and my dog and departing the Hunter in late February. Alas, Mother Nature and climate change had other plans and I started picking Chardonnay a full three weeks earlier than in 2015 and my feet pretty much haven’t hit the ground since then. It has been quite a trip getting my head around this whole viticulture caper and I suspect that I’ll have many roadblocks, learning curves and stuff ups along the way. I’m confident that I have a great piece of dirt in the Coal River Valley though and I’m excited about my first wines to come off the Palisander Vineyard: the Riesling looks exceptional and the Pinot pretty and vibrant. Plans are already afoot for new plantings so that eventually I can be completely self sufficient. The first step is to map the vineyard and try and match the unplanted areas from the perspective of soil type and exposure with varieties – lots to do and exciting times!
… Burning twigs, briar, sulphur, pippy raspberry and cranberry, fistfuls of crushed leaves. It’s direct, acidic, tannic, fractionally spritzy, dry and nervy. I couldn’t see it as anything other than mesmerizing but I can imagine other reactions. All about structure, dry complexity, and length. Do you dare?