In the 1970s, Susan and Geoff Bull bought and replanted some vineyards overlooking the stunning Freycinet Peninsula, and Freycinet Wines was born. Today the estate is run by their daughter Lindy and her husband Claudio Radenti, who between them have several years' winemaking experience across France and New Zealand, as well as at respected Australian estates such as Tyrrell's.
Freycinet's 15 hectares of sloping vineyards are situated just 20km from the east coast of Tasmania where the climate can produce wines that are ripe without being overblown. The vineyards are located in a sort of amphitheatre: they nestle in a valley that both protects them from the winds and acts as a heat trap when the sun shines. At around four hectares, chardonnay makes up the biggest portion of the vines.
Lindy and Claudio aim for medium yields of fully ripened, healthy fruit, which means there is a lot of work to be done in the vineyards: from pruning to thinning out the leaves and positioning the shoots. The grapes are also hand picked to ensure the highest levels of quality control possible.
The estate's winery might appear rustic, but it is packed full of state-of-the-art machinery. As head winemaker, Claudio produces a formidable range including highly sought-after chardonnay and pinot noir of striking minerality. These wines are in high demand Down Under, thanks to their greater restraint and finesse than many examples from the Australian mainland. In 2005, after more than a decade of experimentation, the decision was made to convert the entire Freycinet range to screwcap closures.
The Society's Exhibition Tasmanian Chardonnay is sourced from Freycinet. It is a stylish example which demonstrates the sheer quality of this producer's wines with its peachy fruit, impeccable balance and mouthwatering finish.
Photograph by Andrew Jefford