Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Orford and wine

We'll be staying in Orford (a little up the east coast from Hobart) for the first couple of days. It's near Tribunna - which irrepressibly brings Monty Python skits to mind. I'm sure it's a wonderful place... Do tell if there is anything we must see around there beside Maria Island. I reckon that'll be too crowded. We went to a wine-tasting here on Saturday and had some overpriced and rather thin wine from Elgin - quite far south and shaley terroir. The Pinot Noir was very good (light bodied, with a definate cherry undertone - which I like more than mushroomy-composty old world Pinots), but at 170 rand a bottle (about US$22.60, or AUS$26.00) a bit steep. Which of course brought up the prices of Oz wine. Now a reasonable quaffer here you can still find for under R30 (US$4 AUS$4.60) probably a ruby cab, although typically we'd buy a slightly better (bordeux blend or a merlot, probably)one for around R40-50 (US$6.67 AUS$7.70) unless it was for drinking around a beach fire. Good entertaining friends - up to R100, (call it 13-14 dollars) and special up to R130. (US$17-AUS$20) That's where our budget stops dead, although R200-220 ($30-$33) would be something extra special. These are bottle store prices of course. I see an Australian wine site listing 'quaffers'as under $15... so I guess we're going to downsize a bit! Tassie is even further south and I see they do quite a few pinots.


  1. I reckon that'll be too crowded.

    Probably, but then "too crowded" means "there is someone else here beside us". :)

    OK some places like Richmond do get busy, but (outside of Hobart city) I've never seen anywhere crowded, even over summer. Temporarily overwhelmed when a tour bus has just arrived maybe.

    If it's wines that interest you, there's a wine route through the Coal River area (between Orford & Hobart). Local wines do tend to be expensive but mainland wines are cheaper, but I have no idea on prices as I don't buy it.

  2. I have stayed in Orford; in a great Bed and Breakfast place. There is a very good pizza place, not far from the bridge.

    We visited Maria island, which was great, and not crowded, once you got more than 10 minutes walk from the ferry - it is a big island with no accommodation, unless you camp. Definitely worth a visit; lots of wildlife, fossils, wide range of vegetation types.

    Tasmanian wine is distinctly different from most mainland Oz stuff, because of the much cooler climate. Pinot Noir is the dominant red grape, as it only does its best in cool places. There is a lot white wine grown; Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, some Chardonnay. The man credited with kick starting the modern industry is Andrew Pirie, and his name still appears on some bottles. Random other brands that I remember from our visit include Ninth Island, sparkling Jansz, Rosevear's Estate, Tamar Ridge.

    We actually stayed one night at Rosevear's Estate, as they have some little units among the gum trees just above one of the vineyards. In the evening we saw the spaces between the vines busy with wallabies and even a few wombats!

  3. Grin. Xenith, that's my 'too crowded' all right. Ok, message received. It's not off the list. Depending on time we'll look at the local wineries -- more out of curiousity than anything else. B did a fair amount of her growing up on a huge wine-farm in the Cape.

  4. Julian, We're staying at a place called Sea Breeze Cabins, which my brother and sister-in-law happened on when they visited Tas. They couldn't have been much nicer to us short of flying over and fetching us :-)

    The trouble with Pinot Noir is that it's quite a dicey grape to work with for wine-making - which pushes the price way up.

  5. Google Maps says that Sea Breeze Cabins is literally a few hundred yards from where we stayed, Sanda house.

    Agreed that Pinot Noir tends to be more costly; I think not only is it unreliable, it also gives lower yields as it favours cooler sites.

    There is some Cab Sav and smaller plantings of other red grapes, but Tasmania is at the cool end of the climate zone for these, so only the warmest sites and/or the warmest years do well.

    Given a degree or few of global warming, I expect Shiraz will be dominant in the present sites, and the Pinot vineyards will retreat up the mountains!

    Mainland wines are readily available, and cover all price points; you won't go thirsty.

  6. Finding out what we like is going to be fun. Take everything you buy... and assume that almost nothing will be the same.