Riversdale Estate produces state's most awarded chardonnay

Coal River Valley’s Riversdale Estate Crater Tasmania Chardonnay won a gold medal at the International Cool Climate Wine Show, making it Tasmania’s most awarded chardonnay.

Winemaker Ian Roberts said he knew his wine had received many accolades, but was unsure just how popular it was until the awards were counted.

“I didn’t realise until someone did the numbers. I knew it was up there with awards, but it’s the most awarded chardonnay produced in Tasmania,” Mr Roberts said.

The Crater chardonnay was first released in 2008 and since then has won more than 30 gold medals, as well as trophies and best in class awards in Australia and internationally.

“It makes it one of Australia’s most celebrated portfolio of wines, and it just so happens that it comes from Tasmania,” Mr Roberts said.

Riversdale Estate is situated in a micro-climate in the state’s South, to which Mr Roberts credits his winemaking success.

“Riversdale Estate is in a very special micro-climate, fronting Pittwater and it gets all day sun,” Mr Roberts said.

“Our location in the valley means we get early morning sun and the last rays so we have maximum sunlight throughout the day.

“It gives us a temperate maritime climate during winter, which eradicates frost on the property,” he said.

Overcoming the negative attitude that followed the 1980s oaked-style chardonnays, Mr Roberts said his cool-climate version is worth giving the grape another chance.

“When you look at a really good chardonnay you can see through it,” Mr Roberts said.

“It’s now a more crisp style with a citrus flavour. That’s the real difference,” he said.

Riversdale Estate’s chardonnay grapes are also used as a base for sparkling wines, with many sparkling varieties including more than 50 per cent chardonnay, Mr Roberts said.

“People are investing in the best sparkling base in the country. We’re sitting as a competitor to the French wine region Champagne,” Mr Roberts said.

“Major companies pull fruit from up to 40 different wines and select barrels to blend, but when you have a single vine the secret is to produce high quality grapes consistently from year to year.

“It’s really about producing wine from a single vine,” he said.

Riversdale Estate’s vines are up to 27 years old and Tasmania’s cool climate is considered the ideal location from which to start a resurgence for the once-popular grape with new crisp style chardonnays.