Heraldry, an ‘Estate’ and a linage spanning six generations – Riversdale Estate is Tasmanian nobility. The irony of it though is the brand’s value for money. Méthode traditionnelle, some of Tassie’s finest fruit and a state-of-the-art winery featuring cutting edge French technology. We really are the lucky country. However, despite inspiration from the land, there is a shadowing French muse, evident from the skill of winemaker Jasper Marais (read that with a literal ‘purr’) and their onsite ‘French Bistro’ – featuring an authentic menu of escargot and duck à l’orange. This is no Westfield ‘café’ with croissants and incorrectly used accent marks. Described on their website as ‘a dining experience like no other’, I doubt few restaurants in the world marry French cuisine with local Tasmanian produce. Their winemaking practice not dissimilar, as Marais pairs 350 years of Champagne’s teachings with the unique maritime climate of Coal Valley River.
NV Crux – RRP: $40 – 90 Points
Golden with a peach tint, capturing a sheen of tiny pearls. Despite a Pinot Noir dominant blend, the Chardonnay is at the aromatic fore – cloudy apple, forelle pear and, thanks to lees ageing, arrowroot biscuit (the English Breakfast companion). To reference ‘The French Bistro’ menu – a nose of “dessert spiced pear and frangipane tart”. Expanding like shaving foam in the mouth, it fades and reveals a phenolic grip akin to early picked strawberries and lemon pith. A bitterness that is complimented by a sherbet-like midpalate and oyster shell minerality close. When we get to the ‘crux’ of it (I had to) – this is a refreshing wine, that balances complexity and approachability for under $45.
2016 Blanc De Blanc – RRP: $52 – 92 Points
Yellow pear cast and a nose to suit. In the glass, a corps de ballet – delicate and synchronized like miniature tutus pirouetting up the glass. It is what I love about vintage Sparkling, it is a performance of patience, a rarity in a world where everything is instant. A bouquet of Jonathon apples, quince, brazil nut – and as the ring peeters out, a nostalgic hit of honey joys. The mousse soft, like melting apple sorbet backed by crème brulée and its burnt caramel layer for a weight that holds the wine for a moment longer, although I wish it were a fraction more. Drink now, Riversdale have served the term for you.
NV Rosé – RRP: $40 – 89 Points
Pink peach skin in the glass – the perfect shade for compact blush. Freshly disgorged, the nose remains shy – with faint notes of ripe strawberries (the ones left on the cheese board in the sun), white peach and a visit to the school tuckshop thanks to Chunky Funkeez Strawberry Clouds. Glittering in the glass, a curtain of fine bubbles collect against the side of the glass like sea foam (sounds prettier than ‘spume’). Layers of creaminess and juicy red fruits continue to overlap – as monte carlo biscuits and lively acidity mark an equilibrium. Returning to Riverside’s French Bistro and channeling Netflix’s Emily in Paris, if in Tasmania I would order the ‘duck fat potatoes with garlic & rosemary salt’ to accompany our wine in focus. S’il vous plaît.