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.
If 2015 was an unremarkable year in terms of the season's weather then 2016 represented the polar, or should we say solar, opposite. It was a record year for Tasmanian wine production with much-improved yields from the previous season (about 50% up on the long-term average). Part of the reason for this came down to the weather at flowering, which was, on the whole, dry and quite nice. Our flowering, however, tends to be later and longer than everywhere else so we can get different and varying weather patterns compared to others. This happened in 2016 and we saw some cool, windy conditions during flowering that meant we were carrying a crop that was about average per vine (c. 800-900g). Nonetheless, a lot of our younger vines that had been planted in 2010 were now producing fruit so we ended up with almost double the amount of Pinot in the winery.
It was fortuitous that we didn't have a huge crop on the vines as the lack of rainfall throughout the season meant that our unirrigated vines had quite light canopies. It was much like this year in that you could easily see through to the next row or two. This meant we wouldn't have had the leaf area to ripen an excessive amount of fruit. Combined with the warmth of the growing season we therefore only had to do a very light and late leaf pluck around the fruitzone, as the fruit was already well-exposed to the sunlight. This warmth saw us start picking on the 2nd April and finish on the 16th which is about when we'd normally begin harvest. Those balmy conditions segued into the winery where warmer ferments combined with the ripe tannins to extract a little more structure this year. Whilst there is still that savoury, earthy edge that threads its way through all our Pinots, this vintage is about tannin structure and the length of those tannins. They're easily the best tannins we've seen so far in our wines. They're long, dense and supple. A solar year of warmth and generosity.
Our 2016 Pinot Noir is $50 per bottle and only available in 6-pack cases at $300 per case. Freight is $15 anywhere in Australia.