2016 Vintage Snapshot: Tasmania
A dry winter and spring in Southern Tasmania along with record warmth in October saw the vines race to another very early harvest. Yields were all up on recent years, but such was vine health that almost all blocks looked balanced. Quality seems to have been shielded by a notable absence of extreme heat during the ripening phase for red varieties in particular.
The East Coast had the coldest winter since 1966 and was drier than the long-term average. Spring went in the opposite direction, being the second warmest since 1914 and very dry. Flowering and fruit-set was uninterrupted, leading to better than average yields statewide. The summer was the warmest on record, thanks to consistently mild temperatures (and relatively few hot days). Chardonnay and pinot noir were the benchmarks for a vintage that was described by one of the most clear-eyed vignerons as ‘solid, good, but not a classic, great year.’ And, of course, there will always be the exceptions.
Northern Tasmania conformed to the patterns described for the South and East, leaving little more to be said. If there is to be a standout variety, it will be pinot noir.