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March Wines of the Month: Giants steps indeed


Last month I wrote up two Australian reds with marked pinosity.  This month’s Australian red is the real deal, a Pinot Noir – my stand out wine from the Wine Australia Pinot Noir Masterclass I presented last month (trust me, with 17 top Pinots on show, competition was stiff).  My other wine?  An elegant Portuguese red from the Dão which, guess what, puts me in mind of Pinot Noir.

Giants Steps Applejack Pinot Noir 2012 (Yarra Valley)

The competition – Pinot Noir at the masterclass – watch this space for my report, more pics here

The Applejack 2012 is a terrific ambassador for the intricacy, levity, intensity and layer which you can find in Australian Pinot Noir these days.  The levity with intensity derives (primarily) from site – a single vineyard in the hot spot (actually cool spot) which is the Upper Yarra Valley at 330m – so good Phil Sexton recently acquired the vineyard to secure his fruit source.  Intricacy and layer is enhanced by its blend of Australia’s original Pinot Noir clone MV6 (great for structure) and Dijon clones 114 & 115 (which give lift), together with an element of whole bunch which brings an exciting cusp of ripeness tension, energy and spice to nose and palate.  Extraction and oaking (11 months in 28% new oak) is judicious, allowing this silky, red fruited, juicily persistent wine to fly.  Great delicacy and finesse.  A very worthy winner of won the inaugural James Halliday Pinot Noir Trophy and Best Victorian Red Trophy at the Royal Melbourne Show, 2013. 13.2%

Antonio Madeira Vinhas Velhas 2012 (Serra d’Estrela, Dão)

Antonio Madeira at Simplesmente Vinho 2015

Madeira’s 2011 also made the cut for my Wine of the Month slot.  I fancy the 2012 is even better.  What giant steps this zero to Dão hero – an engineer by trade  – has made in a very short space of time!  The 2012 is incredibly delicate, with hints of violets and game to its pure, crunchy, cocoa-dusted red currant and firm, just ripe sweeter berry fruit. Fine-boned of structure, mineral acidity and gently assertive tannins carry a long, intense finish.  Great appeal for Pinot Noir lovers.  Taken together with Madeira’s first (2013) white wine, I have no doubt he is set for a future which is as bright as his wines.   12.5%

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