Find out why Pinot Noir is such a spectacular grape variety and why it’s so hard to get right. Plus an insight into my favourite producers at the moment.
Currently my favourite grape variety is Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is one of the most finicky grapes to get right. The grape skins are so thin and delicate which leaves this tremendous variety open to attack from bugs, disease and the elements…
Not to mention some pesky wine critics 😉.
Many Australian winemakers are close planting their vineyards. If not carefully monitored during the warmer months the grapes can sweat, become sunburnt and die. Other issues include rot, fungus and mildew. Not to mention the low yields!
Why on God’s green earth would you decide to produce Pinot Noir?!
Some of the greatest Pinot Noir's have historically come from Burgundy. However, recent fluctuations in temperature (caused by climate change) has made selecting when to pick their fruit much more difficult for winemakers.
When made well it can provide the consumer a hedonistic experience. Normally on the lighter side but some producers are making more of a medium bodied style. Do you prefer a lighter or more medium bodied Pinot Noir?
Some of my all time favourite food and Pinot Noir pairings are with Peking duck, roast pork or salami and goat cheese. Here are some of my favourite Pinot Noir producers of Australia, in no particular order.
BASS PHILLIP - Gippsland, Victoria
Winemaker - Jean-Marie Fourrier
Bass Phillip is one of the true pioneers of Pinot Noir in Australia. Established by the eccentric Phillip Jones in 1979. Winemaking at Bass Phillip is uncompromising and driven by a respect for nature. The vineyards have been organic since 1993 and biodynamic since 2002. I’m a massive fan of the Estate and Premium Pinot Noir.
SENTIO WINES – Beechworth, Victoria
Winemaker – Chris Catlow
Handcrafted Pinot Noir highlighting regional expression through unique single vineyards and consistent vinification techniques. Chris Catlow is a gun, a local Beechworth lad producing epic Pinot Noir. One to seek out for sure.
*P.S. There is still some 2019 Pinot Noir left in stock! *
BINDI - Macedon Ranges, Victoria
Winemaker - Michael Dhillon
Around 5 hectares of Pinot Noir vineyards. Vineyard elevation of 500 meters above sea level. Rough annual production between 21,000-36,000 bottles. Handpicked grapes and organic processes since 2005. Wines to look out for Bindi Block 5 and Original vineyard Pinot Noir. Both of which are spectacular!
BY FARR - Bannockburn, Victoria
Winemaker - Nick Farr
Established in 1994 by the Farr Family. 36 acres of vineyards, grapes are handpicked and traditional winemaking techniques used. Wines to search for are the By Farr Sangreal, RP and Tout Pres, they’re absolutely epic!
MARCO LUBIANA - Huon Valley, Tasmania
Winemaker - Marco Lubiana
Grapes are handpicked from the Lucille vineyard planted in 1971. The vines are planted on a grey clay, containing riverbed stones covered by a sandy loam topsoil. The vineyard is now certified Biodynamic. A young gun making his mark on the Aussie wine industry. His 2021 Pinot Noir is the stuff of legends.
MAYER - Healesville, Victoria
Winemaker - Timo Mayer
Established in 1996 with the first vineyard planted in 1999. Around 6 Acres under vine. Annual production is estimated at 20,000 bottles. One of the true legends and larrikins in the wine industry. Timo’s motto “bring back the funk.” Some of his wines are produced using whole bunch. If you love your funk then you must try the Dr. Mayer.
MOUNT MARY - Yarra Valley, Victoria.
Winemaker - Sam Middleton
Established in 1971 and still family owned and run. One of the Crown Jewels in Australian wine. The Pinot Noir is produced using Estate grown fruit from some of the oldest original plantings in the Yarra Valley. If you’re searching for one of Australia’s best then this is the Pinot Noir you need! Search for these vintages: 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019. If you can them, please let me know!
SERRAT - Yarra Valley, Victoria
Winemakers - Tom and Nadège Carson
The first vineyard plantings were in 2001. A total of one hectare with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Viognier and a small amount of Grenache. 8800 vines/hectare, more than four times the average density you will generally find in Australia. The Pinot Noir produced by Serrat is a wine of true beauty and tremendous value.
Thanks for reading I hope you continue to enjoy plenty of Pinot Noir!
If you have any suggestions on a Pinot Noir I should try please drop me an email.