As the oldest vineyard in the Coal River Valley, Domaine A has a strong 44-year history behind it. However, even more impressively, the soil in which these vines are planted is said to be 200 million years old, making for a terroir that’s like nowhere else in the world.
The creation of Domaine A has also been a long time in the making. Owners, Peter and Ruth Althaus, spent years searching all over the world for the perfect location to create Bordeaux-style blends. The Swiss natives eventually landed in Coal River Valley, where Peter has developed the initial 1.5-acre block into 12 hectares of vines, with the help of Vineyard Manager and Assistant Winemaker, Jeremy Harris.
For the couple, the name Domaine A has a strong meaning. Domaine is a commonly used term for a vineyard that makes and bottles wine from their own grapes. However, it is the ‘A’ that is of most significance – a culmination of their last name Althaus, their new adventure to Australia and their winemaking journey and ambition.
Peter’s viticultural decisions and the uniquely ancient soils contribute to the distinctive terroir of each wine. The vines were expertly placed on a north-facing slope, gaining a temperate maritime climate and extended sunlight hours. The vines are closely planted with a density of 6,000 plants per hectare. They are self-sufficient in their deep-rooted state and produce a low yield with smaller berries. Peter has chosen not to use irrigation, to ensure the fruit maintains its intensity of tannins and complexity of flavour.
The Domaine A team completes every process by hand, from the leaf plucking, pruning, crop thinning and picking, to the plunging and racking of the grapes.
They aim to have a complete circle approach that includes the vineyard, labelling, boxing and dispatching. This devotion ensures total control, which results in an outstanding product.
The label’s flagship wine, the Domaine A Cabernet Sauvignon, is crafted in small batches, employing traditional techniques such as vat fermentation, regular racking and hand plunging. The wine is matured in 100 percent new French oak barriques for three years and rested in the cellar for a further two, or more, years.
The amount of time Peter and his team give to their wine before its release is exceptional and has not gone unnoticed. The cabernet sauvignon has been recognised in the elite echelon of Australian wine and has a strong following amongst wine collectors. It’s a deep ruby colour, with aromatic cherry blossom, blackberry and clove notes and an undertone of cedar. The terroir provides a seamless elegance, fine tannic structure and perfect natural balance.
Appreciate the Domaine A wines, admiring the property as you peek over your wine glass. The Cellar Door is a tribute to Ruth’s previous job hosting wine tours and art events. Built with music and art in mind, the walls are adorned with local Tasmanian artwork. From here, Business Manager, Lauren Sheppard, or one of her team, can lead you through a tasting, exploring the full range on offer.
From the ancient soils to the microclimate of the Coal River Valley, Domaine A is a tribute to the purity of Tasmania’s natural environment. One sip of one of the many remarkable wines serves as a reminder of the beauty of time.