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We are fortunate enough in Tasmania to be able to produce fruit that is packed with flavour and has wonderful natural acidity. The acidity is an important attribute in our wines as it gives lightness and balance. We try to build texture and flavour around this wonderful natural asset. We take an increasingly minimalist approach to our winemaking, converting to natural fermentation and reducing the amount of additives and finings used in our wines.
Riesling, Pinot Gris and Arneis
Tasmanian whites have beautiful fruit purity and acid structure and our aim with these varieties is to express these characters as best we can. We are widely acknowledged for the quality of our textural white wines – with the 2022 Riesling (now sold out) proudly named in 2022 Halliday’s Top 100 wines, 20 best value whites under $30. It can age particularly well as Bec explains in this short video.
- Bec’s thoughts on textural white wines
- More about arneis
- What’s the difference between pinot gris and pinot grigio
- All about riesling
The Tamar Valley produces some stunning chardonnay fruit which has some generosity on the palate, but still retains beautifully balanced acidity. We whole bunch press our Chardonnay and the free run juice is transferred directly to barrel to undergo natural fermentation.
We use about 20% new oak in our chardonnay. A portion of the wine then undergoes malolactic fermentation, the exact percentage of which is season dependent. Lees stirring is conducted regularly and the wine is bottled about 10 months after harvest.
We have only been making barrel-fermented chardonnay at Holm Oak since 2010 and we are very excited with the results we are getting. At the moment we are conducting a lot of trial work with different coopers to see which oak best suits our fruit.
Learn more about Chardonnay on our blog
Try some of our Holm Oak Chardonnay. (link to Chardonnay page)
How we make our pinot noir depends on vintage conditions and the resultant fruit quality. It also depends a bit on how we are feeling at the time and what exciting trials we are conducting in any particular year. With pinot you need to use your experience and intuition to be able to make a great wine, as the same thing won’t work every year. This is what makes making Pinot Noir so much fun (and also so frustrating!). However, we do tend to follow a general plan to ensure a consistent style as much as possible.
Most fruit is de-stemmed prior to fermentation. We do however do a few batches of 20% whole bunch fermentation so that the final wine contains about 5% whole bunch. The crushed fruit is allowed to soak at ambient temperature for approximately 4 days before being inoculated or for as long as it takes for a wild ferment to start. 80% of the fruit is wild fermented; the remaining 20% is inoculated with two different yeast strains. The fruit is fermented in 1.5 tonne open fermenters and hand plunged up to five times a day. Approximately 5% of the final wine is drained off skins at 4 – 6 Baume for barrel fermentation to increase palate complexity and silkiness. We generally don’t do any post fermentation maceration.
The fruit is then pressed in an air bag press or basket press straight to barrel where it goes through malo before being racked and returned to barrel for maturation for about 9 months. We use around 20% – 25% new French oak with the remainder being 1 – 4 year old French oak. We tend to use quite tight grained, light to medium toast oak in our wine to give it more shape, texture and structure. The wine is egg fined and then filtered before bottling.
We have quite a few new clones planted that are only just starting to produce fruit for us. We expect to start playing around with more whole bunch ferments in the coming years.
With four different styles of pinot noir made, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Listen on as Bec explains the variations across the range.
Try some of our Holm Oak Pinot Noir (Link to page with products)
Discover more about how to age and cellar pinot noir
Cabernet and Merlot
Our philosophy with the Bordeaux varieties is to extract as much fruit character as possible, without extracting too much of the ‘greener’ tannins that can be a problem in cooler climates.
Our cabernet and merlot are fermented in small open fermenters and hand plunged. We inoculate all ferments to get things happening quickly. We then work the cap hard while the alcohol level in the wine is low, until about half the sugar has been fermented.
This extracts as much colour and fruit flavour as possible. Following this, we taper off the plunging as the ferment finishes. The wines are pressed to barrel or tank depending on the product allocation.
The cabernet for our straight varietal cabernet sauvignon is matured in 20% new oak and 80% 1 – 4 year old oak for 15 months prior to being bottled; whereas the more fruit driven cabernet merlot style is matured in 50% older oak and 50% stainless steel for 9 months. Bec gives you a taste of what to expect.
SHOP THE RANGE, discover some of our Holm Oak Cabernet Sauvignon (Link to page with products)
Making a sparkling wine was a natural evolution for us, given our existing plantings of, and love for, pinot noir and chardonnay. Because Tasmania is renowned for its sparkling wine, it started as a bit of fun for us to see what we could produce. We made our first sparkling in 2008 from 100% pinot noir; it was supposed to be a blanc de noir, but it had too much colour, so it became a sparkling Rosé. We didn’t start making sparkling wine in a serious way until 2016, after a fair bit of trial and error with some small batches.
These days, however, we proudly produce a number of premium sparkling wines to add to the rich tapestry of fine Tasmanian sparkling wine. We make our NV Sparkling Wine from our premium, hand-harvested Tasmanian Pinot Noir (60%) and Chardonnay (40%) grapes. It undergoes traditional bottle fermentation before spending time on lees for 24 months before disgorgement. With its velvety texture, it’s one to pop the cork and enjoy.
With a hint more sweetness and just a touch of blush, our premium NV Sparkling Rosé will surprise and delight. It’s fresh and vibrant with refreshing acidity and a dry finish.
We’ve also been known to make a vintage Sparkling Rosé, and our 2017 vintage was a real winner, scoring 95 points in the 2021 Halliday Wine Companion. Like our NV Sparkling, we make this delicate sparkling from 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay.
Learn more about Tasmanian Sparkling Wine
Our Holm Oak Moscato would have to be one of our most followed wines, and certainly a crowd favourite at cellar door. For the uninitiated, moscato is a style of wine made from muscat grapes. It’s famous for sweet flavours of peaches and orange blossom and because it’s lower in alcohol than other sparkling wines.
Our range includes two moscatos, sourced from different grapes to create two distinct drops.
Our Pig & d’Pooch moscato is named after our beloved pets, Pinot d’Pig and our labrador Bella No.1 who sadly passed on in 2017. Fortunately we have a successor for Bella No. 1 and you’ll find our new resident chocolate lab, Bella 2, at cellar door.
The moscato grapes come from Tim Duffy’s family property in Victoria. The fruit is picked and pressed in Nyah, Victoria with the juice held for six hours prior to pressing to extract colour and flavour. The juice then makes its way to Tasmania to be bottled and finished with a light carbonation. End your dinner party with chilled moscato and juicy, sweet strawberries and raspberries (or make a delicious dessert with Moscato Jelly). It’s a wine best shared with friends and a cheese platter.
Mad about moscato? Did you know that we launched Australia’s first Moscato club? Sign up for regular shipments and deliveries of our popular Pig & d’Pooch Moscato, plus other perks like 15% off Holm Oak wines. It’s a pretty sweet deal!
Find out more about moscato
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