Domaine A is set in one of the most pristine natural environments in the world.
Established in 1973, the historic Stoney Vineyard is the oldest in Tasmania’s Coal River Valley. Just half an hour's drive from the city of Hobart, the 11ha single vineyard domaine is owned and operated by H. Peter and Ruth Althaus. It is the culmination of a long and exhaustive world-wide search for terroir ideally suited to cool-climate viticulture.
Ancient soil and truly cool climate give rise to inspirational terroir founded on 200 million year old Jurassic Dolerite. Domaine A lies on a north facing slope that enjoys a temperate maritime climate and extended sunlight hours over a long, cool season. Domaine A experiences some of the longest sunshine hours in Australia, ensuring grapes ripen to develop the full spectrum of varietal character. The vineyard is close planted in the European tradition (1.9 x 0.9m), with a density of 6000 vines per hectare. The sloping North-North Easterly aspect and foliage height of 1400mm enables vines to take full advantage of prolonged sunshine. Annual rainfall is often less than 500mm. Grapes ripen well into late April and early May, bringing flavours of great subtlety and intensity to the wines.
Varieties grown include red grapes Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Pinot Noir and the white grape Sauvignon Blanc.
Peter Althaus personally selects the fruit for harvesting. During the cool days of Autumn when the fruit is at the point of optimum ripeness and flavour it is hand-picked and crafted with minimal intervention. The wines are made without compromise in the spirit of the finest traditions of winemaking.
Once again an enormous amount of work went in over the winter period to prepare for the harvest season and to set up ideal conditions for the 2011 vintage.
Winter brought regular but not excessive rainfall (almost on a weekly basis) and many crisp, frosty mornings. We saw the first signs of bud-burst in mid September and despite several close calls, avoided any frost damage and achieved flowering by mid December.
Summer conditions were relatively mild, however the continuing rainfall promoted high levels of shoot growth that required topping, lateral removal and leaf plucking from January through February.
We picked our Pinot Noir on the 28th March (two weeks later than 2010) and then despite a week of record rainfall in mid April, were able to make the most of a wonderful 'Indian summer' finishing picking the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot on the 3rd May (two weeks later than 2010).
The first results show a very clean, evenly ripened crop, and notwithstanding the mild summer conditions, a vintage of extremely interesting complexity in both taste and aroma.