Australia's only plantings are at the boutique family-owned White Rock Vineyard situated at Kimberley, north-west Tasmania where conditions are similar to Germany and where there is not a lot of leeway to ripen Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon according to owner Phil Dolan. "I planted the Dornfelder because I had heard that it ripens the same time as Pinot noir so would be a good alternative red variety for Tasmania" he stated. He was not to realise how good when it took out a gold medal and the overall trophy for Best Other Red at the 2014 International Cool Climate Wine Show.
He went on to mention that their winemaker, Alain Rousseau of Frogmore Creek is doing a great job with it. "I couldn't find anyone to make it as it was such a small crop but Alain said, "Oh, that's new. I'll do it."
There are some brooding elements to the Dornfelder with flavours of tart dark cherry, plum and cloves on the palate supported by smooth tannins and a soft lively acidity. Overall, good depth of flavour and structure to this medium-bodied wine. Velvety, rich textural mouthfeel that flows onto a white peppery finish.
There's a well-crafted balance of fruit, oak and acid to this wine and it's easy and satisfying to drink. A real privilege to try Australia's first release of what could be a promising variety in our cooler climate wine regions. Excellent.