Priory Ridge Southern Tasmania
Located in the tiny settlement or Priory just 3 kms inland from the township of St Helens on the northern part of Tasmania’s east coast, not far from the Bay of Fires. The property has been in the family of Julie Llewellen since 1889 and in the last 20 years has been planted with 20 hectares of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc and small amounts of other white varieties on an ideal warm north facing slope where the soil is decomposed Devonian granite which seems to confer a signature freshness and minerality into the wines produced.
Winemaking is all done at the Apsley Gorge winery by Brian Franklin who also does vintage each year in Burgundy with Philippe Charlopin (who was mentored by his friend Henri Jayer) in Gevrey Chambertin. Brian’s approach to winemaking for these wines is similar to his own Apsley Gorge wines, aiming for full phenolic ripeness harvesting as late as possible to ensure ripe pips and stems and letting ferment begin slowly and naturally with just natural yeast and no S02 used at all during vinification, maturation and elevage which is made in mostly aged French barriques. Ageing on lees for more than 18 months for the Pinot Noir and 12 months for the Sauvignon Blanc results in remarkable texture and depth with just a tiny amount of S02 is used at bottling. These are exciting and unique wines of remarkable complexity.
‘Whether it’s the granite soils or the sort of first-vintage phenomenon we’ve often seen before in Tasmanian pinots, this is, as Llewellyn says, distinctly different to the bigger, riper East Coast style. Tight and textured with sour cherry plum and savoury peppery notes and none of the stewed strawberry sweetness we commonly find in our young pinots. It is nicely balanced, mid-weight, long and persistent.’ Graeme Phillips, Food and Wine Writer, Hobart Mercury and Author of A Guide to Tasting Tasmania.
2016 Sauvignon Blanc
Produced from a warmer vintage for Tasmania this wine shows more pungent varietal aromas and characteristics with real complexity.
2015 Sauvignon Blanc
Just 300 dozen produced of this brilliant deep and textured wine. Vinified oxidatively and aged in mostly aged French barriques this wine shows only hints of gooseberry varietal character with real richness and depth and texture coming from the time spent on lees.
2015 Pinot Noir
From a cooler ‘typical’ Tasmanian vintage 2015 has yielded a wine with notable freshness and finesse whilst still maintaining excellent intensity and depth. Shows refinement and more red berry aromatics showing raspberry fruit with a touch of Burgundian complexity.
2014 Pinot Noir
Made from tiny yields in 2014 this wine shows remarkable intensity and vibrant dark brambly fruit behind its very complex Burgundian aromas. Retains wonderful freshness and fine though ample silky tannins.
2013 Pinot Noir
Awarded silver medal at the Melbourne Wine Show. Showing a little aged complexity with hints of brick to the colour. Rich and deep on the palate with plum and dark fruit flavours and very fine tannins. Shows real Burgundian character in every way.