The Pinot Noirs we love display a delicate balance between red and dark fruits, high-toned aromatics, layered depth and verve. It’s something we hope to achieve in our Pinots and is a combination of site and sensitive winemaking. Picking dates are intrinsic to obtaining the energy we look for in our wines - pick too early and you lack the delicious component, pick too late and you lose the moreish part. It’s a cliché but it’s all about balance.Our winemaking philosophy is pretty simple. Listen to the fruit and let it guide you. We soak the fruit at ambient temperature (cold in the Huon) and then let natural yeast start the fermentation process. Once the ferments are complete we taste the wine on skins until the tannin profile is right and then press to barrel. From there we inoculate for malolactic fermentation, then leave the wine unsulphured until late-spring and add sulphur dioxide. The wine is left untouched until bottling, which varies depending on how the wine looks. Stems are used as a supportive component when they are ripe and the amount varies.
Our wines from 2019 are under a different label and called One Monkey, which are sourced from different vineyards around the state due to the bushfires in the Huon in 2019 and the loss of fruit from our own vineyard.
One Monkey refers to a refrain in a Gillian Welch song that we used to sing our daughter to sleep with. She sings, “One monkey don’t stop the show” and for us it’s about surmounting the difficulties life throws at you. Mike Bennie hosted a panel discussion at Rootstock a few years ago in which various winemakers talked through what was happening in their lives as the wines were being made. Someone read a poem. It was so instructive and a reminder that each wine we drink involves the weight of people’s lives outside of the day-to-day growing and making of the wine. It’s a human process and a human experience and occasionally it’s good to look at wine in that context. For the other 98% of the time it’s nice not to think and just revel in that warm, fuzzy feeling.
2019 was gearing up to be an epic vintage in the Huon. Great growing conditions, warmer than average and delicious looking bunches! But the environment was quite dry which always makes us nervous and whilst we were in Cygnet one afternoon in January, dry lightning strikes swung in from the west. As we drove home and over the hills, we feared the worst and out to the west from on top of those hills we could see the plumes of smoke in the forests. Columns rising. “It’ll be ok if they get onto them quickly.” Days later we watched as the Riveaux Road fire across the Huon escalated. Time seemed to stand still. Rabbits in the headlights so to speak. Refreshing the Tasmanian Fire Service website. Most events you can plan for in the wine-growing game – frost protection, bird nets, spraying, etc. With smoke and fire, you feel helpless, you just watch it happen.
A month of thick smoke blanketed the vineyard and we knew harvest was over before it had begun. In some ways we were lucky. We didn’t lose the vineyard, we didn’t make wine that would only start to show taint later and we could plan.
So plan we did. We talked to some friends who took pity on us and offered fruit to make a wine that could fill the gap between our 2018 and our 2020 releases. We bought some Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and it proved an interesting harvest. With your own wines that you’ve grown it’s about finetuning, the one percenters. Here we were working with fruit with different flavour profiles, different acid structures, different ripeness. Fascinating. Challenging.
The majority of our Pinot Noir came from the Bird vineyard (48%) in Pipers River, owned by Pipers Brook with the balance coming from Joe Holyman’s new block (21%), Goaty Hill (18%), Ghost Rock (11%) and Clover Hill (2%). The clones were mostly 114 and MV6 with Joe shrugging his shoulders at the suggestion that it was worth knowing!
50% of the Bird vineyard portion was whole-bunch fermented with the rest destemmed and whole berries used. The high proportion of 114 (naturally red-fruited) from a cooler part of the state (Piper’s Brook) and whole bunch means there is a savoury edge reminiscent of our own vineyard combined with a perfumed delicacy. The wine was filtered but unfined and we made about 5100 bottles.
Our 2019 One Monkey Pinot Noir is now sold out. There are a few cases of our Chardonnay left and are available on our Chardonnay page.
We have also released a vintage vertical 6-pack of our Pinot Noir from our first wine in 2012 through to our 2017. Please click below if you'd like to order.
Freight is $15 anywhere in Australia.