Tasting Through Tasmania
Separated from the Australian mainland by the Bass Strait, Tasmania is surrounded by cold waters. Famous for its sparkling wines, sensuous Pinots and citrusy Rieslings, “Tassie” produces wines as brisk and pristine as the island itself. With just over 500,000 inhabitants spread mostly between the two hubs of Hobart and Launceston, 40 percent of Tasmania’s land is devoted to national parks.
Australia’s first grapevines were planted here in 1823, and the country’s first sparkling wine was made here from the 1826 vintage. Tasmania’s cool climate attracts winemakers, and its beautiful and wild scenery is equally special. Get a taste of the island’s surprisingly distinct subregions by car via its wine routes through coasts and valleys, and don’t forget to drive through Freycinet National Park to see breathtaking Wineglass Bay.
If Hobart is your home base, stop by Moorilla Estate. Founded by the late Claudio Alcorso, who opened his vast private art collection to the public as the ever-changing and provocative Museum of Old and New Art (MONA, whose present collection is provided by current owner David Walsh), the aesthetics of the winery aspire to classic beauty. Taste at the cellar door, or dine in its prize-winning restaurant, Source.
If you fancy a drive up the spectacular East Coast, sample Pinot and sparkling wine in a converted stable built by convicts at Spring Vale Vineyard. During summer, the restaurant is open, too. In addition to the grape vines, marvel at the beauty of olive groves at Freycinet Vineyard.
And if you’re in Launceston, a short trip to Tamar Ridge gives you the opportunity to compare East Coast and Tamar Valley wines. Make sure not to miss the classy sparkler, Pirie. Sharpen your palate with the precise Rieslings of Josef Chromy Wines and feast on local produce in the restaurant while enjoying sweeping vineyard views. Swoon over elegant, traditional-method sparkling wines at Jansz, located on a spectacular site overlooking the Bass Strait.
Enjoy dinner in a nearly 200-year-old dining room at Hobart’s Ethos Eat Drink, where the menu changes daily to highlight the best local ingredients. Relax on the waterfront at Mures Upper Deck and order up oyster mojito shots and seafood platters. Induldge your sweet and savory side at Small Fry, with imaginative doughnuts for breakfast or opt for lunch with a glass of wine. Gourmet pizza meets local wine at Cargo Bar Pizza Lounge.
In Launceston, experience fine dining with Asian accents and a focus on seasonal produce at Mudbar & Restaurant. Order a dozen (or more) freshly shucked oysters at Hallam’s Waterfront, a can’t-miss eatery.