E Wine of the Week- Think Tasmania

Hello Everyone,
It’s back to red wine this week, but one that’s equally as good for summer cookouts as for dinner in a nice restaurant. As is often the case, finding this bargain requires a small geography lesson.

At 11:30 a.m. on Fridays you can hear my weekly radio program,  The Wine Show,  KABF FM 88.3 Little Rock, soon to be streamed on the internet.  Wine news and education.

Taste something good this week!



Like a lot of people my age, the first thing I knew about Tasmania was a fearsome little cartoon character called the Tasmanian Devil. I never thought about where Tasmania was, but when I first tasted pinot noir from there, I started looking at my globe.

Pinot fans probably remember that this is one red grape variety that tends to like cool weather. If you look at other good pinot noir regions around the world—Burgundy (France), Oregon’s Willamette Valley or California’s Carneros District, Russian River Valley and Santa Maria—they, too, have rather cool average temperatures during their growing seasons.

This island state of Australia, (actually a chain of islands), is south of the mainland. When you’re south of the equator, the climate becomes cooler as you move farther south, toward the South Pole. That and the proximity of the ocean, which helps to moderate wide temperature swings, go a long way in explaining why Tasmania’s north shore is good for pinot noir. Most of Australia’s wine regions are considered to be a little warm for it the same reason that you don’t see much Australian merlot.

Not much wine is grown at the equator, nor at the poles. There are two relatively narrow bands circling the globe, one north of the equator and one south between approximately 30˚ and 50˚ latitude, where most wine grapes are grown.

Ninth Island Pinot Noir, from Tasmania’s northern shore, reminds me of an Oregon pinot noir.  It’s a balanced style that lets the cherry-like fruit flavors shine through, with just enough oak for some complexity on the finish, and fine, supple, unobtrusive tannins on the finish. I think the $20 retail price is good for this quality.

For questions, comments, or to subscribe to the electronic version of E Wine of the Week, email Bruce at: bruce@brucecochran.com

Categories: Legacy Archive