Directly across the river sits another local landmark, an imposing nine-storey grain silo which has just been relaunched as Peppers Silo Hotel after a multi-year makeover, complete with a restaurant letting its proud Tasmanian flag fly. Nearby, the buzzing Mudbar Restaurant backs its pan-Asian excellence with a wine list doing the state’s vignerons proud.
“A lot of winemakers come to Tassie to check out the cool climate wine making and get hooked on it,” says Shane Holloway of Delamere Vineyards. “Chardonnay gets these great oyster shell, sea brine characteristics, while pinot noir has really interesting sub-regionality. But what was important to us was the opportunity to develop a sparkling house that expresses a single vineyard, like the champenoise houses. Sparkling is just a natural fit for this part of the world.”
A trip around the Tamar reveals that the sparkling church is a broad one. Delamere’s recently released 2008 Late Disgorged Blanc de Blancs is a complex, biscuity beast with chardonnay’s characteristic oyster shell and citrus notes (“It’s interesting to taste the decisions I made as a winemaker 10 years ago,” says Holloway). Five minutes’ drive away, there’s Bay of Fires, home to dedicated sparkling label House of Arras. Created by Australia's most awarded sparkling winemaker, Ed Carr, it’s a prestige label, but cellar door manager Will Doggett is determined to take the pressure down. “The 2007 Grand Vintage is the perfect breakfast sparkling for Christmas day,” he says. “Beautiful with Vegemite on toast.” At Pipers Brook we taste the Ninth Island non-vintage sparkling, like lemon cream pie in a bottle. Jansz’s 2014 Blanc de Blancs is an elegant, lemon and brioche-led expression of a single block. And at the rammed-earth architectural magnificence of Clover Hill, the 2014 vintage rosé boasts a swoon-worthy strawberry and rose petal bouquet.