White Rock 2014 Dornfelder
Winery : White Rock
Not only uniquely Tasmanian, White Rock's Dornfelder is the first Australian commercial release of this German variety. Having tasted the previous vintage* of the wine, Huon Hooke commented at the Tas Wine Show Dinner in January that Dornfelder was a 'good alternative red wine variety to pinot noir' for Tasmania.
Dornfelder is a German hybrid - Helfensteiner x Heroldrebe - with some pinot noir and blaufrankisch in its pedigree. Jancis Robinson describes it as 'the most successful of the modern red German crosses, making dark, velvety wines'. Switzerland has some vines, as does the Czech Republic, England (made as a rose), Californian Central Coast, Brazil, Japan, and now, Tasmania.
As mentioned by Robinson, the colour is a striking feature of Dornfelder on account of the thick skins and strong pigments which also stain the flesh of the grape. For that reason the grapes for White Rock's Dornfelder undergo only gentle maceration, without crushing, before ferment. Then there's a light crush mid-way through ferment before pressing off at 1 degree Baume to retain softness of mouthfeel.
Michele's notes: A wine of dense colour. The bouquet is very pretty with a floral lift. The fruit is intense, like mulberries bursting in your mouth, but there's a soft, velvety suppleness and hint of rich vanilla, with complementary savoury herbs and bitter orange. This is a robust, generous, yet finely-structured dry red wine that would be superb with slow-cooked lamb in particular.
White Rock is at Kimberley in Tasmania's north west, near Sheffield and Railton and inland from Devonport.
*2013 White Rock Dornfelder won a trophy at the 2014 International Cool Climate Wine Show in Mornington