Despite the COVID-19 situation, we are pushing ahead with our cellar door at Bream Creek. As it stands, we hope to have civil works underway by October and a grand opening about May/June 2021. By that stage we hope all interstate borders will have re-opened! Stay tuned for regular updates….
FREE shipping continues for all orders of 6 bottles or more – and you can mix and match wines! We can send our wines direct to your door, and accept Visa, MasterCard and Amex. You can shop our range via our secure online store here. Our shipping providers currently have modified delivery requirements, given the need for social distancing and self-isolation. So, if you can, please leave directions with your order that your wine can be left on the front porch, under the verandah etc. However, like all good things this life, this offer must come to an end – hence free shipping will cease on 31 July 2020.
That’s right! In the strange world of COVID19, why leave the safety of your house when your favourite Bream Creek wines can be delivered to your door! All of our current release wines are available for purchase via our secure website here. Remember that you can mix and match with the minimum order being only 6 bottles, plus we accept payment by Visa, MasterCard and Amex.
Challenging would be an understatement in describing this season!
It is still extremely dry in the south and east of Tassie, as it has been for several seasons at least now. Early spring saw prolonged strong and unusually cold winds which slowed vine development. During flowering we experienced a continuation of the cold gusty conditions, with periods of short sharp rain showers that reduced the berry set significantly – but without making a useful contribution to soil moisture! Most vines flowered “short” – that is, they flowered before they had reached their usual growth stage. I would rate the weather at flowering this year as the worst I have seen since flowering in 2013.
Consequently we are expecting the majority of varieties and blocks to crop very lightly across much of Tassie, and I suspect this will result in a much reduced Tasmanian crop. Coupled with the disastrous conditions in many mainland vineyard districts one could anticipate that the total Australian wine grape crop will be noticeably lower this season.
As the heat and dry continues, and coupled with lower crop levels, we can probably expect an early and frantic vintage – which I feel is a sign of things to come!
You may have read in previous newsletters of the success of our (pre-release) 2017 Reserve Pinot Noir. Well, to top off all the existing awards and trophies it has won, it has just been awarded the Trophy for “Best Australian Red Wine” at the 2019 Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition. Given the number of Australian red wines entered in this wine show (especially Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz) this is quite a significant award!
In addition, we were very pleased to read that our 2012 Cuvée Traditionelle sparkling was just one of twenty sparkling wines (including expensive French champagnes) featured in the annual “James Halliday Top 100 Wines” magazine supplement in the Australian newspaper recently. James described our wine as “a most appealing and complex wine”, while also saying it was a bargain for consumers! To reinforce James’ selection, it was also awarded a gold medal at the 2019 National Cool Climate Wine Show.
To finish, our ever popular 2017 Estate Pinot Noir picked up its seventh (!) gold medal at the 2019 Australian Small Winemaker Show.
Both the 2017 Estate Pinot Noir and the 2012 Cuvée Traditionelle sparkling are available here via our secure online store. As always, the minimum order is just 6 bottles, you can “mix and match” the wines in your order – and we do accept American Express!
James Halliday is arguably Australia’s best-known wine writer and critic. His annual “Wine Companion”, the preeminent guide to the best wines produced in this country, was released in early August and we were very, very pleased to have received an entire page of very positive reviews, including the following reviews for current release wines in our range:
“Opens with great colour; mouth filling waves of black cherry and satsuma plum follow precisely in the tracks of the bouquet. It has exception finesse, line, length and balance. Trophies: Best Tasmanian Red Wine and Best Tasmanian Wine Hobart Wine Show ’18, plus significant gold medals in other shows. 96 points
“Exceptional colour; a best-barrel selection from its ’16 siblings, with more depth and intensity to its array of dark fruit flavours. A showcase of gold medals, six from Asian competitions, and three from reliable sources including Sydney and Melbourne.” 96 points
“60% pinot noir, 40% chardonnay, disgorged Oct ’18. Around 80% of the base wine spent 5 months in very old French oak to allow MLF [malolactic fermentation] to develop naturally before the wine was tiraged and spent 6 years on lees. A most appealing wine, the price a bargain for consumers, but causing the bank manager to weep.” 95 points
“Estate-grown, hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed, wild fermented and matured in French oak for 9 months (20% new). Picked at perfect ripeness, white peach, melon and grapefruit all present and correct. No hint of the fearsome Tasmanian acidity. Double-gold San Francisco International Wine Competition ’18. 13.2% alc.” 95 points
“Crushed and destemmed, tank fermented. Shows the strawberries and cream character that this variety typically produces as a rose. Quite mouthfilling on the palate, but the freshness and liveliness gives it a feeling of buoyancy which adds to its appeal. Essentially dry, but there is some fruit sweetness which suggests it will drink well with a good chill.” 92 points
“Displays its cool climate origins on the bouquet with some green leafiness, but the varietal characters of blackcurrant, redcurrant, mulberry and cedar are attractive. The flavours are ripe and the palate is soft until the firm, drying tannin takes over. Needs a bit of time.“ 91 points
We’re also very pleased to retain our 5-star rating, awarded to an “[o]utstanding winery capable of producing wines of very high quality, and did so this year”, generally with two wines ranked 95 points or more – which we comfortably reached!
It was only around 6 weeks ago that we announced the release of our 2016 Reserve Pinot Noir – and it has already featured in the National Press! James Halliday selected this wine as one of a limited number of “Winter Warmer Reds” for his recent special article in “The Australian Magazine” on 25 May 2019. James’ full review is below:
Tasmanian wine scribe Winsor Dobbin was just as impressed, calling our 2016 Reserve Pinot Noir an “exceptional new-release reserve pinot noir “ in his recent view of it. Winsor’s full review can be found here. Access to our secure online store, including the 2016 Reserve Pinot Noir, can be found here.
We are now approaching the final stages of picking vintage 2019 – one of the most compressed vintages I have ever seen! I suspect this will be a more regular occurrence thanks to climate change, so we have better get used to it. The upside is we will get more of a break between vintage and our winter work – now that does sound great!
Whilst vintage is always a “marathon” event – very long weeks organising and working with lots of pickers, many of whom are foreign backpackers with virtually no local knowledge, handling the logistics of ensuring snips, buckets, bins, forks, pickers, trucks, porta loos etc are on the correct blocks for picking – this vintage has been particularly “manic”! The later varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling decided to develop flavours amazingly early and needed to be picked about the same time as our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. To get through in a timely manner we have been picking up to 4 vineyard blocks per day – which is a considerable stretch for our teams.
Usually vintage proceeds in a more “orderly” fashion, but not in 2019! Fortunately the weather has been with us, I think we only lost one day of picking due to weather. The grapes have been excellent with some great flavours, generally smaller berries so more concentration of flavour and colour, and the volumes more like average so the vines have handled the fruit load quite easily.
This has so far been a roller-coaster vintage, and we are barely into our main pickings! Our initial thoughts were that with such a warm summer this would be a very early vintage – but not so. Conditions cooled early in March and the ripening seemed to slow right down and in some blocks virtually stopped. In the last 10 days the vines have knuckled down to the “ripening” business and we are now flat out hand picking! As often happens in this style of season, all the varieties and blocks are tending to ripen together. Even Sauvignon Blanc in some of our cooler blocks is now well advanced and has fabulous flavours! Same goes for Riesling – which is hot on the heels of Pinot Noir and is building a very attractive flavour profile. Pinot Noir looks fabulous, quite delicate flavours and aromas with great poise and balance. We will see some very “classy” Pinots this vintage! With a relatively dry to very dry season, disease pressure is low, and strangely we have not been pestered by birds trying to get through our netting defenses – yet! They have been suspiciously quiet and it wouldn’t appear to be because they have their beaks full! So a very, very busy few weeks ahead with no time to lose! Cheers, Fred
Vintage 2019 is fast approaching, and if this hot, dry weather persists it could be a lot earlier than we initially thought. In the south it has been exceptionally dry and consistently warm to hot. The older vines seem to be handling it surprisingly well, courtesy of a very dry spring which enabled the survival of their deeper vine roots. Hence we are concentrating our irrigation efforts on the higher and more exposed blocks, and the younger vines that have yet to fully develop their deep root systems. With some pretty mizzly, drizzly weather during the flowering of some blocks, there are some smaller berries in bunches where the pollination was incomplete – hence I am expecting only fairly modest bunch weights and yields. Coupled with a continuation of this weather pattern, this will also accelerate veraison and ripening. In fact we are seeing the early signs of veraison ie berry softening and a little colour, in Pinot Noir berries in our earliest blocks. Ah, the joys of applying bird netting are not far away!!
It has been a very mixed bag so far – ranging from an exceptionally dry winter and spring, to a recent week of mizzly, drizzly weather here in south east Tassie. We picked up 20 – 30mm of rain across our vineyard blocks, but it was a pretty agonizing process due to the persistent, drizzly showers and the prolonged heavy could cover rather than shorter bursts of heavier rain. We had a couple of chardonnay blocks commence flowering during this weather, whilst one of our main pinot noir blocks was almost mid flower. I would love to see a few weeks of warm sunny weather – with perhaps the occasional “worthwhile “shower – as opposed to our recent dull, cloudy conditions. But so far our vines look healthy and the growth is pretty good. Courtesy of the prolonged warm dry season last year, there are plenty of flower bunches on the vines i.e. potential grape bunches, across all varieties. At this stage it is certainly not looking like an early season, in fact I’m starting to think it could be one of the later seasons of recent years – but as usual time will tell! Long way to go yet!
We are very pleased to have been recognized on the world stage with a trio of trophies recently awarded at highly regarded international wine shows in Europe and Asia for our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.
The AWC International Wine Competition in Austria is the largest recognised wine show in the world and this year saw 12,402 wines entered from 1,716 wine producers in 39 countries. At the presentation ceremony in Vienna, we were awarded the trophies for ‘Best White Wine of Show’ as well as for ‘Best Chardonnay up to 12.9% Alcohol’ for its limited release 2016 Bream Creek Reserve Chardonnay. Winning these two Trophies – including the ‘Best White Wine of Show’ at the largest international wine show in the world is quite incredible! Chardonnay is sometimes overlooked in Tasmania, given the popularity of Pinot Noir, but this recognition reinforces my view that Tasmania does indeed produce world class Chardonnay.
We have also received recent recognition for our Pinot Noir. At the 2018 Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition, the 2016 Bream Creek Reserve Pinot Noir (not yet released) was awarded the trophy for ‘Best Pinot Noir’ while at the 2018 Decanter Asia Wine Awards the 2016 Bream Creek Estate Pinot Noir won a “Platinum Best in Show” Medal. These results in international competitions provide a strong endorsement of the great quality of the wines we are producing in Tasmania. There is no doubt that the combination of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and the Tasmanian climate is the envy of many Australian and International wine producers.