Wine review — Bay of Fires, Winesave and Crittenden

Bay of Fires Tasmania

  • Pinot Noir 2008 $35–$38
  • Chardonnay 2008 $35–$38

Bay of Fires, part of Constellation Wines Australia (formerly BRL Hardy), is profoundly affecting Tasmania’s wine scene. It pays top dollar for the right grapes to growers the length and breadth of Tasmania. And the wines go into sparkling wines made by Ed Carr or table wines made by Fran Austin. These two delicious wines, from the warm 2008 vintage, give a terrific glimpse of the Tasmanian style. The chardonnay is brisk and fine boned – at once rich and restrained with intense grapefruit-like varietal flavour. The pinot is soft and fine with ripe varietal flavour and a unique savouriness – understated but complex and balanced.

Winesave $29.95
Winesave is a small cylinder of compressed, inert, heavier-than-air argon gas. Squirted into an open bottle, the gas blankets the wine, protecting it from air. We road tested Winesave on two bottles of Bay of Fires Pinot Noir, pouring equal amounts daily but protecting only one. At opening: wines identical. Plus one day: triple blind tasting (two glasses of one wine, one of the other) – slight degradation to the unprotected wine; the other bright and fresh. Plus two days: protected wine still fresher, but fading. Plus three days: unprotected wine barely drinkable; protected wine on its last legs. See

Crittenden Estate King Valley Los Hermanos Tributo a Galicia 2009 $27–$29
Earlier this year we learned that all of Australia’s albarino – sourced originally from Galicia, Spain – was savagnin and that in all likelihood even the Spanish had savagnin mixed in with their albarino. We also learned that even Spanish experts couldn’t separate the two vines or the wines made from them. But Australia’s savagnin makers adopted the name change in their stride. In Crittenden’s case they’ve simply removed ‘albarino’ from their Los Hermanos label, added ‘Tributo a Galicia’ and happily publicise the name confusion. The wine is attractively aromatic, tending floral, with a full, juicy, shimmering, dry finish.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009