Tolpuddle 2020

The single site wine has leapt to the upper echelons of Australian wine consciousness in a relatively short while, and, of course, has become an anticipated release and, of course, the associated commentary. Dazzling winemaking, loaded with personalities of the Shaw + Smith juggernaut and their arsenal of wine intelligence… MIKE BENNIE, The Wine Front

If ever a winery was born with blue blood in its veins, Tolpuddle would have to be it. The vineyard was established in 1988 on a continuous downhill slope facing northeast, and in 06 won the inaugural Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year Award. Michael Hill Smith MW and Martin Shaw are joint managing directors. David LeMire looks after sales and marketing; Adam Wadewitz, one of Australia’s brightest winemaking talents, is senior winemaker; and Ray Guerin, one of Australia’s most experienced viticulturists, with specialist expertise in cool climate vineyards, is group viticulturist. Vineyard manager Carlos Souris loses nothing in comparison, with over 30 years of grape growing in Tasmania under his belt, and an absolutely fearless approach to making a great vineyard even greater. JAMES HALLIDAY

Tolpuddle’s annual releases are now one of the most hotly anticipated home grown releases each year and with the absence of  a pinot noir in the line-up last year, there is a real palpable excitement around this year’s wines.

The story here has been told many times before, but the broad strokes are that the Tolpuddle vineyard has long been a special piece of dirt, but it took the vision, and investment, of Michael Hill-Smith and Martin Shaw and the significant talents of winemaker Adam Wadewitx and vineyard manager Carlos Souris to draw from it wines of such gravitas and dimension.

The wines were excellent on their first release back in 2012, but the all-star team here has slowly been turning the screws each vintage, honing and refining the wines and moulding them into something not just excellent, but remarkable and compelling.

The chardonnay today funnels it’s power through a finer frame. Sleek and stylish it has shed it’s exuberance and emerged as scintillating wine of refinement and class. There’s always a little bit of flint here, ripe stone fruits there, a lick of oak and a fine creamy texture and all delivered with a spear of sizzling cool-climate acidity.

The pinot too has evolved into what is now a wine of shimmering beauty. Texturally there are few pinot noir that can compare in Australia. It fills the mouth, silky and supple leaving a spiderweb of fine tannins draped across your palate. We spend a lot of time referencing Australian pinot noir to Burgundy and this is a wine that gives us a window into a future where home-grown wines deliver the nuance, texture and power that we seek out in those revered bottles. There’s little doubt it would already would comfortably stand shoulder to shoulder with some well-regarded 1er wines.

Superlatives aside these wines really need little embellishment, but they do inspire one to fill the page with adjectives. As we have done previously this is a pre-release offer with wines officially launched on September 15th. As such there are no reviews for this year’s releases, but rest assured these will be once again glowing recommendations when they arrive.