The year 2020 marks the second of our partnership with Lou and Joe Holyman of Tamar Valley’s Stoney Rise and Holyman labels. This, more importantly, is the second spring release of the full range – and range is an apt term, given the array of delights on offer.
It begins with the naked immediacy of the ‘No Clothes’ Pinot Noir, made with no SO2 and bursting with newness and nowness. Grüner Veltliner, meanwhile, flies the flag for alternative varieties. It’s a grape that has shown great promise in Tasmania, with a proven track record at Joe and Lou’s place. This is now, believe it or not, their 11th Grüner and it’s “a cracker”, according to The Wine Front’s Curly Haslam-Coates.
Also in the Stoney Rise line-up – and providing a tasty, early-drinking prelude to the majestic, structured renditions of Burgundy varieties under the Holyman label – are a terrific -value 2019 Chardonnay that boasts “clean and racy acidity, juicy fruit for days” and Pinot Noir that “feels so well-knit and lithe, but with bounce and energy of fruit to go”.
As always, then, the offering is topped off by the old-vine, estate-grown, single-vineyard Holyman wines. These low-cropping, dry-grown vines were planted in 1986, and the wines always show great energy, strength and self-assuredness. Ripe fruit, well farmed in a fine Tasmanian dirt… it really is a recipe for excellence.
Well, what can you say?
The season was quite a good one except the cool windy weather in spring which had a minor (for us) effect on flowering and eventual crop levels. After the cool spring, the weather for the rest of the season was mild; we got rain when we wanted it and the temperatures were close to average. As harvest drew closer we had some rain events but nothing that did any damage, and it helped to keep our leaves alive in our dry-grown vineyard.
We started harvest about 10 days later than the last couple of years due to the cooler finish to February, which we feel has also helped the depth of the wines. – Lou & Joe Holyman
2020 Stoney Rise No Clothes Pinot Noir RRP $35
This is fruit from six-year-old vines in our new vineyard. Fermented on its skins without any additions. Only eight days on skins this year to try and make the wine a little less like a red wine, and more like a wine that can be drunk like either a rosé or light red. We always serve it chilled.
Fresh strawberries and cream on the nose. The palate is juicy with a hint of apparent fruit sweetness but there is some underlying tannin from the skins and a bright savoury texture with the crisp acid finish to brighten your day. – Lou & Joe Holyman
The No Clothes, No SO2, no fining, no filtration, no preservatives is no drama and fun, all the way. Full of cherries, rhubarb, redcurrants, mulberries and crisp acidity, it is funky like Prince and maybe you should replace the dodgy ‘80’s Jermaine Stewart with some of the Purple One’s finest hits, cook the sort of dinner that you can eat with your hands and dance around wearing your soft clothes with the kids and the dog in attendance.
Wine doesn’t have to be serious but it has to be tasty and this definitely is. 92 points. Curly Haslam-Coates, The Wine Front August 2020
2020 Stoney Rise Grüner Veltliner RRP $35
This is our 11th vintage interpreting this Austrian grape variety. As always these grapes are pressed straight to tank including all the solids. It’s left to begin the ferment naturally, which is when we begin stirring the lees through the wine to build up the structure. We continue to stir the wine once a day until the ferment finishes which is when we let the wine settle until it is racked prior to bottled unfined and unfiltered in late July. We love to pick this fruit when it is fresh and zingy, so this one has finished up at 11.5% alcohol.
There are floral hints first up and nashi pear. The palate is crisp with some cashew and kiwi fruit and it has a slightly saline finish. The texture gained from the lees stirring completes the wine and helps to balance the acidity and give the nutty, mouth-filling grip. – Lou & Joe Holyman
Well hello spring, don’t you look pretty? The 2020 Gruner Veltliner from Stoney Rise is exactly what you need now that the blossoms are bursting all over the place and the days are getting longer.
Grab a COVID safe amount of friends and cook some fresh fish, spring greens and crack a bottle of this with lunch. Fresh lime, crisp green ripe herbaceous notes and a tingle of white pepper all turn up on the nose, with a smashable combination of green apples, lemon, lime, almonds, pea shoots and a little something funky. It’s unfiltered and unfined, fresh and funky like Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, not back of the fridge funk. A cracker. 93 points. Curly Haslam-Coates, The Wine Front August 2020
2019 Stoney Rise Chardonnay RRP $35
We said we would never do it again but sometimes an opportunity comes that is too hard to turn down. This year we were offered some fruit form a 20-year-old vineyard just north of us on the West Tamar, then some from Relbia just south of us, and then a small amount from the south of the state. We couldn’t help but take it. It was fermented in our new 2500-litre oak cask and stayed there on its lees for the last five months. It’s a fresh style ready for summer. There’s a hint of banana peel and cantaloupe on the nose. The palate is all white peach with hints of lemon and cashew. There’s a viscous texture to the wine, but the hint of oak and natural acidity of Tasmanian Chardonnay balance this to give it a long, driven finish. Great with seafood rice paper rolls. – Lou & Joe Holyman
I put on Notorious B.I.G as I sat down to write up my review of the Stoney Rise Chardonnay because “Juicy” is our keyword. Ripe apricots, peaches, juicy green apples, sweet, fresh peas, honeysuckle blossoms and a buttery, freshly picked hazelnut finish.
A chance offering of fruit from a 20-year-old vineyard just north of Stoney Rise on the West Tamar, some from Relbia just south of Launceston and then a small amount from the south of the state made this wine happen. Fermented in new 2500-litre oak cask and followed by 5 months on lees, this is a Chardy to drink young. Clean and racy acidity, juicy fruit for days, chuck a chicken stuffed with lemon and herbs in the oven and crank up the Notorious B.I.G. 94 points. Curly Haslam-Coates, The Wine Front August 2020
2019 Stoney Rise Pinot Noir RRP $35
The Stoney Rise Pinot Noir is a 60/40 blend of fruit we grow and fruit we purchase from our small growers around the Tamar Valley. The 60% from our vineyard comprises just over half of the fruit from vines planted in 2004. The remainder comes from our older vines planted in 1986 – which is the component of the blend that gives this wine it’s structure and backbone. – Lou & Joe Holyman
Joe is really back on top in 2019 because this Pinot drinks like a Barbaresco. Fragrant and rosy, red cherry and red fruit, spice, but really such perfume and brightness here. It’s medium-bodied at most, succulent and supple, with a little bit of tang, firm graphite tannin, feels so well-knit and lithe, but with bounce and energy of fruit to go. Length is excellent, indeed, even stoney. All rise. 94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front April 2020
2019 Holyman Chardonnay RRP $57
I have said it before, and I will say it again: the 2019 harvest will go down as one of the best. A beautifully balanced growing season led to an easy harvest of pristine fruit.
As usual this fruit comes from our 0.75Ha block of 34-year-old Chardonnay. Pressed straight to 100% new-oak 500-litre puncheons for ferment and maturation. Once the natural ferment begins we stir the barrels twice a day to keep the lees suspended and moving around in the ferment. It spends nine months in oak and is then racked and bottled.
A hint of struck match and grapefruit on the nose. The palate is lean and refreshing, but there is underlying power and structure which will develop with time. Hints of oak and some almond on the palate, but the finish is long and structured with our signature fresh natural acidity. It’s the Coche-Dury of Tasmania. – Lou and Joe Holyman
Flowers, lime, white peach, a little stuck match, fennel tips, and attractive cinnamon and almond oak. Good energy present in the wine, with a lively crunch and flinty texture, almond meal and green olive, finish is long and tight, with a gentle grapefruit pith bitterness as it goes. Perhaps a little finer and tighter this vintage, but none the worse for that. 96 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front August 2020
2018 Holyman Pinot Noir RRP $57
Handpicked and sorted, this 100% estate-grown fruit comes from vines planted in 1986. Some 60% of the fruit goes into the fermenter as whole bunches. 30% of the wine is aged in new French oak to bring complex smoky elements complementing the vibrant red berries and chalky tannins. No fining or filtration and minimal sulphur. – Lou & Joe Holyman
It’s carrying a fair bit of high quality toasty clove spice oak as at now, but it’s perfumed, spicy and earthy, with cherry and boysenberry fruit of purity and clarity. It’s almost luminous, you could say. Racy crunch of cranberry acidity, tightly knit graphite tannin, fresh red fruit, and a distinct ‘mineral’ feel and vigour on a long dry finish. Tassie Burgundy, is how I read it. Joe is back on top in 2018. 95+ points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front March 2020
2017 Holyman ‘Project X’ Pinot Noir RRP $91
100% estate-grown, single-block wine, from vines planted in 1986. The fruit for Project X comes from a block we like to call Boris. It’s all handpicked, and our well-trained pickers do all our fruit sorting in the vineyard. For this wine they only select perfect bunches with well lignified stalks allowing us to make this 100% whole bunch, 100% new oak wine. It was bottled without being fined or filtered.
One of the things I love about our whole bunch wines is that they always have less colour than our other wines and the fruit characters are always in the brighter fruits. Fresh raspberry and strawberry on the nose. The palate is clean and structured with the usual hints of Campari, with the underlying intensity of the stalk tannin. One to be cellared for many years. – Lou & Joe Holyman
Whole bunch complexity on the bouquet and palate alike. A polarising style. It’s 100% whole bunch from the same small block (1t of fruit, 55 dozen), matured in new French oak. The maker’s thumbprint is all over the wine, and it needs time to sort itself out. It’ll be all duck or no dinner when that happens. 94 points. James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion August 2020