It’s spring, and what better time to unveil a full range of superb sparkling wines from one of Tasmania’s finest growers?
Monique and Steve Lubiana had the stage set for celebration in 2020, what with this marking the 30th year since they embarked on their dream on the banks of the Derwent River in Granton. The estate was established with the production of top-quality cool-climate fizz in mind, and the Lubianas quickly made good on that promise. They’ve honed their craft since, becoming one of the New World’s very best names in bubbly.
The current range of traditional-method wines is just smashing. It starts with the non-vintage Brut Reserve, then features a vintaged Blanc de Blancs from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir rosé, before culminating in the Grande Vintage, an intensely complex wine from its nine years on lees.
There hasn’t been a lot to celebrate in 2020; the Stefano Lubiana estate’s own 30th birthday shindig has been put on ice in a year that marked 10 years as Tasmania’s biodynamic pioneer. But good times will come again, and these wonderful Tasmanian sparkling wines will more than do those overdue parties justice.
NV Stefano Lubiana Sparkling Brut Reserve RRP $45
A 70:30 blend of Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, estate-grown with some select parcels of Derwent Valley fruit. Mix of two terroirs: grey gravelly loams over clay and red loam over gravel. 2017 base vintage with 30% matured reserves. Vinified in a blend of small oak, large oak and stainless steel and given full malolactic conversion. Méthode traditionnelle, with a minimum of two years on lees and 6 months under cork pre-release. The natural viticulture, low yields and incorporation of reserve wines create a sparkling wine that tastes fruit-pure, intense, rich, creamy and complex. Lively palate, good length, fresh bread, nougat and roasted nuts in an elegant package. Palate is round, full and enticing with a hint of sweetness to balance the spritzy acidity.
2014 Stefano Lubiana Blanc de Blancs RRP $55
100% Chardonnay, estate-grown with some select parcels of Derwent Valley fruit. Mix of two terroirs: grey gravelly loams over clay and red loam over gravel. Vinified in a blend of small oak, large oak and stainless steel and given full malolactic conversion. Méthode traditionnelle, with a minimum of five years on lees and 12 months under cork pre-release. The natural viticulture, low yields and extended lees maturation create a sparkling wine with a flinty, mineral nose reminiscent of slate and earth, with underlying fresh apricot, orange rind and spice. The palate is a zesty combination of lemon curd and quince with leads to buttered brioche and roasted almonds. The fresh acidity dries the wine giving it an exceptional line and length supported by an abundance of mineral complexity.
Drink to me with thine eyes only with your fine, creamy mousse and thick beading, such a pretty sight before the smokiness with a whiff of apple, crushed almonds and a hint of sea air hit your nostrils. On the palate, there is a wealth of juicy apricots, nectarines, apples, candied lemon zest, a hint of something saline and then a warm finish, much like the nutty topping of a good crumble. The finish shows off a delicately honeyed brioche autolytic characteristic and a desire for a truffled chicken and mayonnaise brioche roll. A very welcome addition to the Lubiana family. 95 points. Curly Haslam-Coates, The Wine Front September 2020
2015 Stefano Lubiana Brut Rosé RRP $55
100% biodynamic, organic-certified Pinot Noir from the estate vineyard in Granton. Traditional method sparkling wine, which spent three years on lees and was disgorged with a low dosage of 4 to 5g/L.
A pale-salmon colour, fine bead with good yeasty complexity and flavour. Time on lees has certainly provided a delicate but noticeable touch of savoury autolysis, too, which all adds up to some mighty fine drinking. Aromas of acacia, cherry, dried cranberry with watermelon inflection throughout. The palate has excellent layering of flavour and texture with poached quince, spiced apple, shortbread, stone fruits and tart cranberries. Long and brisk. 94 points. Jeni Port, Halliday Wine Companion 2021
2009 Stefano Lubiana Grande Vintage RRP $68
A blend of estate-grown, single-vineyard Chardonnay (70%) & Pinot Noir (30%). The fruit comes from a mix of two terroirs: grey gravelly loams over clay and red loam over gravel. At the time of harvest the vineyards were organically managed, in conversion to biodynamic certification. The base wines go through 100% malolactic conversion and the wine is according to the méthode traditionnelle. Aged for nine years on lees until disgorging on the 16th of November 2018. Dosage 4g/L.
Light-mid yellow. Straw-hay and lemon-juice bouquet, some toast but very youthful. It’s in very good condition, but it’s very dry thanks to low liqueuring and liberal acidity. It’s borderline austere but would be superb with food, e.g. oysters or fishy canapés. Terrific line and length. A top wine. 95 points. Huon Hooke, The Real Review January 2020
Bold colour, and no shortage of flavour either. This is a pow pow powerful sparkling wine offering stone fruit and tangerine, aniseed, Danish pastries, brine and flor-like scents. Soft fine bubbles, yeasty complexity, juicy orange laden flavour with a light perfume, weighty and long, finishing with a chalky texture. Very good and highly individual in style. 94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front August 2019