Apsley Gorge: Tasmania
Established in 1988 this tiny vineyard is planted to Pinot Noir (5.5ha) and Chardonnay (1ha) and is located several kilometres inland from the coast near the entrance to the Apsley Gorge national Park north-west of Bicheno. The vineyards unique situation near the entry to the gorge brings breezes in the afternoon which have a distinct cooling effect which means this vineyard is typically one of the last to harvest in Tasmania with harvest usually being around the first week of May. This micro-climate is unique for the east coast.
Since 1999 winemaking has been undertaken by owner Brian Franklin who also does vintage each year in Burgundy with Philippe Charlopin (himself mentored by his friend Henri Jayer) in Gevrey Chambertin, and is helped here in Tasmania by young French winemakers including Philippe Charlopin’s son Yann. Including vintages undertaken in France Brian now has almost 40 vintages of winemaking experience in both France and Australia.
Always aiming for full phenolic ripeness the style of wines produced are rich and intense wines characterised by fully ripe fruit made using Burgundian know-how with texture and finesse and excellent natural acidity, without excessive extraction or heaviness. Produced very naturally with only a small percentage of new oak each year these are very individual wines of great class and structure that drink very well when young yet also age and evolve over a decade or more for the Pinot Noir.
“Franklin’s faithfully Burgundian techniques deliver a magnificent synopsis of the potential of his warm site: broad, statuesque Pinot with grand depth and texture, and a deliciously baroque Chardonnay.” Andrew Jefford
2015 Chardonnay – due July 2016
From just 1 ha of fully mature vines the yield in 2015 was 2 barrels and 1 demi-muid giving a total production of about 100 dozen bottles. 2015 was a very cool year for the east coast of Tasmania and the wine shows more restraint and finesse to the benefit of the finished wine. Rich bright and intense with wonderful texture and depth this will drink well young and also age gracefully for 5-10 years if given time.
2013 Pinot Noir
From a cooler more ‘typical’ Tasmanian vintage 2013 has yielded a wine with notable freshness and finesse whilst still maintaining the intensity and depth of Apsley Gorge Pinot Noir. Paler in colour than his 2011, 2012 and 2014 Pinots the 2013 shows refinement and a fresher finer aspect with more red berry aromatics showing raspberry coulis with a touch of autumnal complexity. A very refined style of Pinot with very tannins on the palate with all the trademark texture and Burgundian influence which Apsley is so well known for.
2011 Pinot Noir
“It’s a big wine, and spent extra time in barrel to tame this brute of a thing. Also a return to the “odd year” syndrome with a similarity to the 2009. It was initially very closed, but it is all there. The ripe East Coast fruit, the subtle yet persistent tannins giving a superb opulent mouth feel, and the finish…!! The wild yeast character adds further complexity on both the nose and the palate, all this with a subtle lick of French oak. To drink now this wine needs decanting. It’s built for the long haul” Brian Franklin – winemaker
“The single-minded Brian Franklin at Apsley Gorge has rendered himself half Burgundian with annual work immersion in Gevrey, and his courageously restrained winemaking combined with a warm, dry East Coast site results in Pinot of unusual breadth but great subtlety and allusiveness too.” – Andrew Jefford