30 Second Wine Advisor: Pinot from Tasmania
Today's Sponsors
 The California Wine Club
Introducing The California Wine Club's By Reservation Only Program

 Terroirs of Burgundy with Robin Garr
Sample the glory of Burgundy in a tour designed for value-seeking wine lovers.

In This Issue
 Pinot from Tasmania This little-known island off Australia's southeastern shore is poised to make a bigger footprint on the world's wine roads.
 The California Wine Club Introducing The California Wine Club's By Reservation Only Program
 Tamar Ridge 2005 "Devil's Corner" Tasmania Pinot Noir ($15)
Crisp and tart, this finely structured Pinot from a larger producer makes a fine introduction to Tasmanian wine.
 Terroirs of Burgundy with Robin Garr Sample the glory of Burgundy in a tour designed for value-seeking wine lovers.
 This week on WineLoversPage.com
Discussions of wine with desserts and wine with shellfish, and an invitation to talk about wine travel on our TalkShoe call-in Internet radio show. Our weekly poll asks for a candid appraisal of your wine evaluation skills.
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index The Wine Advisor archives.
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Pinot from Tasmania

Tasmania, Australia's smallest and most isolated state, occupies a strikingly scenic island off Australia's southeastern shore. Australia's closest point to Antarctica, Tasmania lies exposed to the ocean gales and cold currents that old-time sailors called "The Roaring Forties," endowing the island with a four-season climate that brings winter frosts and deciduous forests that turn brilliant colors in the fall.

Populated by humans as long as 40,000 years ago, Tasmania was "discovered" by a Dutch explorer named Tasman in 1642 and later settled by the British, who placed a penal colony for exiled convicts there in 1803, only 15 years after the first penal settlements on the Australian mainland.

Cold, isolated and lightly settled to this day - fully one-third of the island is set off for parks and preserves - Tasmanians sometimes endure the same kind of teasing from their compatriots as Americans deal out to the Appalachians and the South.

But there's no joking about Tasmania's wine. Tasmania has grown and produced wine for local consumption since the early days, but it's only in the past decade or so that the island has begun to make wine seriously for export. Tasmanian wine (not to mention its excellent Boag's beer) is becoming commonplace in the rest of Australia and now, still in smallish amounts, around the world.

That process will likely accelerate since Tasmania's wine industry, like much of the rest of Australia, has recently undergone a wave of corporate mergers, acquisitions and development by the country's major wine corporations. The producer of today's wine, for instance, Tamar Ridge, was recently acquired by the larger Gunns Ltd. and is undergoing quick expansion.

While it's early going to generalize about Tasmania's wines until more of them come our way, the Tamar Ridge 2005 Pinot Noir from their "Devil's Corner" portfolio - named after a hazardous rapids in the Tamar River - shows the character of a cool-climate red wine: It's rather light in color, not unusual for Pinot Noir, and boasts a light-bodied, lean and acidic, apparently un-oaked and very food-friendly profile with notes of earthiness that bespeak a kinship with the Old World. It's a far cry from the stereotypical South Australian blockbuster reds, and I like it the better for that. See below for my tasting report.

Want to learn more about Tasmania? Here's a link to a quality tourism Website sponsored by the state tourism organization:

Today's Sponsor

California Wine Club
Introducing The California Wine Club's By Reservation Only Program

Many of California's highest-rated and most coveted wines sell out before countless wine consumers ever have the chance to purchase even one bottle.

Wines like these are even difficult for us to find. In fact, we sometimes acquire so few cases, we are unable to feature them in the club and instead offer them to a select group of customers.

Our By Reservation Only program gives you access to the wines you want with no commitment and no obligation.

How it works:

  • When a very special or limited wine opportunity comes up, we will automatically reserve a case for you.
  • Once your case has been reserved, we will email you. At that time, you can choose to accept or withdraw your reservation.
  • Priority is given on a first-come, first-served basis. The longer you are on the list, the higher your priority level.

To add your name to The California Wine Club's By Reservation Only program please call 800-777-4443 or email winereservationalert@cawineclub.com

For more information on The California Wine Club's By Reservation Only program, please click here: http://www.cawineclub.com/store/special_promotions?Args=

Tamar Ridge Tamar Ridge 2005 "Devil's Corner" Tasmania Pinot Noir ($15)

Clear ruby, not overly dark. Light and fresh, restrained wild-cherry aroma carries over on the palate as tart red fruit, light-bodied but well structured with mouth-watering acidity. A distinct red-clay earthy nuance develops with time in the glass. Surprisingly for a wine from Down Under, its lean, cool-climate style almost suggests a light Burgundy - or perhaps a fine Beaujolais - more than a New World Pinot. U.S. importer: Robert Whale Selections Ltd., Washington, D.C. (Jan. 21, 2007)

FOOD MATCH: A good food wine, capable of standing up to red meat, but well-suited to poultry or salmon. Fine with chicken dark meat in a veloute with onions and green peppers.

VALUE: If you enjoy this light, acidic and moderately earthy "Old World" style as I do, then you won't quibble about a mid-teens price. If you're more attuned to riper, heavier New World styles, however, be aware that this one is different.

WHEN TO DRINK: Its relative lightness supports the winery's suggestion that it's a wine intended for near-term consumption, but good balance and acidity - and the sturdy metal screw cap - suggest that there's little risk in holding it for a year or two.

The Tamar Ridge Website is colorful and attractive but requires the Flash plugin and shows best with a high-speed connection. It may not be accessible to text readers.
Here's a more accessible tasting note and spec sheet from the U.S. importer:

Wine-Searcher.com currently lists only Australian and British vendors for Tamar Ridge "Devil's Corner" Pinot Noir. From other world regions, check with local vendors or the importer.

Terroirs of Burgundy with Robin Garr

Hotel DieuWhat wine lover hasn't dreamed of touring Burgundy, meeting its wine makers and learning about its wines?

Now, with the respected wine-touring company French Wine Explorers, we've crafted a special, once-in-a-lifetime Terroirs of Burgundy tour aimed at thrifty, value-seeking wine lovers.

If you've long dreamed of learning Burgundy and its wines with an expert at hand but thought you couldn't possibly afford it, I invite you to consider The Terroirs of Burgundy. I'll be personally leading the July 2-7, 2007 tour, and I promise maximum "bang for the buck."

Interested? Don't delay, as the tour is strictly limited to 16 wine lovers. You can review the itinerary and details at http://www.wineloverspage.com/tour/

For more information or to make reservations, send E-mail to info@wine-tours-france.com or call +1-877-261-1500 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada). And if you would like to discuss this tour with me personally, feel free to write me at wine@wineloverspage.com

To read and comment on today's column in our non-commercial WineLovers Discussion Group, click:

Today's article is cross-posted in our Netscape WineLovers Community, where we also welcome comments and questions.

To contact me by E-mail, write wine@wineloverspage.com. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.

Here's a simply formatted copy of today's Wine Advisor, designed to be printed out for your scrapbook or file or downloaded to your PDA or other wireless device.

This week on WineLoversPage.com

A Server's Perspective: Wine with dessert
For many people, dessert is the culmination of a great dinner, and it's an anticipated event that deserves as much attention as all of the preceding courses. In his "Server's Perspective" column, Jorge Edouardo Castillo talks about matching dessert with wine.

Live on Jan. 23: WineLoversPage TalkShoe!
TalkShoe!You're invited to talk about wine travel on our live, call-in Internet radio show on TalkShoe tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m. US EST (10 a.m. PST, 1800 GMT and 19:00 in Western Europe). This is your cordial invitation to phone in, discuss and exchange views about your favorite wine destinations with fellow wine lovers. All you have to do is get on the phone and key in a code number. There's no cost (other than long-distance charges to your telco), and no reason to be shy ... you are among friends! To get started, click to our TalkShoe page for instructions, information and hotlinks.

What wine with lobster?
A simple question about pairing wine with lobster led to an extended discussion about wine and shellfish in our WineLovers Discussion Group. Read the conversation and add your own suggestions here:

Poll: Your ability to evaluate wine
We assume that we're all here because we enjoy wine, but we're not all called upon to judge the stuff. For this week's online poll, we're curious how participants in our international community of wine lovers rate our own individual capability to evaluate wine. In the complete privacy of the Netscape/CompuServe WineLovers Community "voting booth," we invite your frank and candid appraisal:

Last Week's Wine Advisor Index

The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:

 More wacky labels (Jan. 19, 2006)

 Marilyn unwrapped (Jan. 17, 2006)

 Mencia from Bierzo (Jan. 15, 2006)

 Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:

 Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Pork'n'kraut revisited (Jan. 18, 2006)

 Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:


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Monday, Jan. 22, 2007
Copyright 2007 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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