I bought the 2012 vintage from Brian Franklin back in August 2017, but I didn’t do a promo straight away as I thought I’d wait for some ratings.
After all these years, you’d think I would know better.
Brian doesn’t send his wines to raters (his wines sell out to his loyal clients) and only very occasionally will a bottle find its way to a review.
So here’s what I know about the 2012 Pinot.
First thing, it comes from about as far east as you can go in Tasmania, from a vineyard a little to the north of Bicheno. It was released after the 2013 vintage as Brian wanted to hold it back to let it soften a bit more. It was a big wine at youth (the only way Brian makes them) and it needed that extra time.
I”ll stick my neck out and say that it’s the last Pinot to be picked anywhere in Australia. It’s certainly the last to be picked in Tasmania, with picking usually taking place in the first week of May. Hell, on the mainland some Pinots would be picked, bottled, labelled and out to customers by then!
I can tell you that it’s listed in one of the MBS celebrity restaurants in Singapore, and it’s a personal favourite of one of the celebrity chefs.
I can also tell you that you should avoid drinking it.
Whoa! that might have stopped you in your tracks…but let me finish.
If you can, you should try and avoid drinking it without a big decant. Without a decant, it can be a bit pongy, and you’ll wonder what the fuss is about. But give it a big decant, and it will sing and you’ll underatnd why the loyal followers stay loyal. How big? Overnight if you can resist, but as a minimum, I’d let it breathe for an hour.
The wine is currently on the Apsley Gorge website ( http://apsleygorgevineyard.com) at A$65, but is being sold at the Pinot Shop in Launceston at A$75. It’s S$74 here and currently all of it is in Melbourne (18 bottles) so it can be here by around 9 August if ordered by 31 July. As usual, no minimum purchsase required.
You will always find a bottle of Apsley Gorge pinot in my cellar.
During my many trips to the East Coast of Tasmania, I’d driven past Gala Estate without giving it a second thought. I was usually on my way to catch up with Freycinet Vineyards further down the road or Apsley Gorge at Bicheno. Gala Estate is in the town of Cranbrook which literally lives up to the old saying “blink and you’ll miss it”.
What caught my attention, and prompted a visit in April, was the awards that Gala Estate had started winning, especially Trophy Gold and Best Red Wine of the Show for their 2013 Gala Estate “Constable Amos” Pinot Noir at the 2016 Tassie Wine Show. I met with Adam and Grainne at the cottage cellar door, and was very impressed but slightly worried by their strategy. Impressed, because they have a very clear plan that they want to sell as much of their wine as possible direct to the end consumer. That means cellar door and wine club members, and very little left over for trade. Worried, because I thought I might not get any wine for my Singapore customers.
In the end, Adam & Grainne concluded that my approach is strongly aligned with theirs, so I was able to secure 2 cases of the Constable Amos (now all gone), and a tiny batch of this and another Riesling. It’s becoming increasingly clear that if one wants wines from boutique, and even mid-size producers in Tasmania, one has to visit them. Oh well, I’ll just have to keep doing that!
This 2014 Late Harvest Riesling scored a Gold medal at the 2016 Tasmanian Wine Show. It’s a 375ml bottle.
I may be able to get more, but right now, this is all I’ve got.
For the record, the alcohol is 9.4%