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.
The 2017 Pinot Noir reflects the cooler weather and lower yields seen in this vintage. Cold, wet and miserable conditions gave verdant canopies and a slow start to the season but was followed by a mild, dry midsummer. You tend to get a little nervous in these cooler years about ripeness levels but a week of 35-degree sunshine in early March (a very rare occurrence) saw the fruit and stems ripen amazingly well. Our vines and the fruit didn’t suffer at all in the heat which we put down to our dry farming and the fact that our vines are acclimatised to stressful conditions. If you come to our vineyard at this time of year there are quite a few yellow leaves and we believe that these mildly stressful conditions in this ripening period contribute to complexity in the final wines. It is why irrigation techniques try and mimic certain periods of water stress by withholding water. Our Permian Mudstone soils also have the most plant-available water of any soil in Tasmania so even when it’s very dry there is still enough to keep the vines functioning. Naturally the younger replanted vines with smaller root systems stress more than the older vines so we manage their shoot and crop load accordingly. We came to the Huon and our vineyard because of this belief in unirrigated vines expressing their sites and seasons more faithfully and the resulting complexity of the wines. We think this is clearly shown in the 2017s.
Picking began on the 6th April and ended on the 27th and with average yields (2.9T/ha) it was a pretty easy vintage in terms of being spread out and low in volume. There was no pressure to pick until we thought the fruit was exactly where we wanted it and the ripe stems enabled us to use about 15% whole bunches across various batches (oddly the same as 2016 which was a very warm year). Wild ferments ticked over happily, we pressed off once the tannins aligned and the wine eased through elevage on full lees. We pulled the wine out of barrel the day before filling with the 2018 vintage! It’s a wine that sits comfortably with the 2012, 2013 and 2015 Pinots from our vineyard – poised, complex and structured.
Our 2017 Pinot Noir is $55 per bottle and only available in 6-pack cases at $330 per case. Freight is $15 anywhere in Australia.