Latest releases: stunning Pirie Brut NV fizz plus a punnet of Aussie Pinot Noirs

Yesterday I reported on a tasting with Mac Forbes (here) for whom Pinot Noir is the “Holy Grail.” For him, Pinot Noir nirvana lies in the Yarra Valley where he’s making five different sub-regional expressions (and counting!) 

Other Australian Pinot Noir hot (or more to the point, cool) spots include Tasmania and Mornington Peninsula.  Here are samples of latest releases which I’ve tasted in the last month plus a Chardy and a fizz from a couple of the Pinot producers.  I’ve also included Pierro Pinot Noir, a leading Margaret River example which I tasted alongside its eastern cousins by way of comparison.  The Pinot Noirs went down a treat with barbecued salmon while the fizz, Pirie Estate Brut NV, blew my socks off!

Tamar Ridge Devils Corner 2009 (Tasmania) – a bright bowl of cherries on the nose, with a hint of cassis/blackcurrant.  Though it’s well-defined and fresh, that long ripening season gives it an intensely ripe sweet cherry core, with juicy plums on the mid palate and going through.  Bright and breezy earlier drinking style.  Well done. c. £10/bottle at Averys.

Tamar Ridge Kayena Vineyard 2008 (Tasmania)- frost at flowering reduced yields by around 45%.  This is indeed intense and concentrated with a crunchy, tight bilberry, cranberry and redcurrant nose and palate wed to silky tannins with hints of savoury oak. More serious/intense, as you’d expect compared with the Devils Corner, it has yet to open up and still showed quite tight acid on day two.  Needs time but lots of promise.  Around £15.

Pirie Estate Pinot Noir 2007 (Tasmania) – more savoury with textured tannins, forest floor, cinnamon spice and musky leather hints to its plum and cherry fruit; a little warm on the finish. Contact Stratford Wine for stockists. 

Pirie Estate Brut NV (Tasmania) – 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay, this is a stunning sparkler, yellow/bronze in the glass with a really fine, very persistent bead and inviting autolytic notes (biscuit/toast and sour dough) to the nose.  In the mouth it’s very finely honed, on the dry side, with calvados/bruised apples, ripe lemon and steely, grapefruity acidity.  Impressive, long, lingering, linear finish.  Top. Contact Stratford Wine for stockists. 

Port Phillip Estate Pinot Noir 2008 (Mornington Peninsula) – an expansive nose compared with the Tassie wines, richer, more bottom, savoury too, with fruit spice, liquorice even, rather than wood spice.  The mouth is soft, velvety and enveloping.  Savoury cassis, beetroot and plum rule the roost here, with leather, liquorice, mocha, damp earth and dried herbs on the finish. A weighty, powerful wine.  £17.75 (2007) at Philglass & Swiggot

Port Phillip Estate Chardonnay 2008  (Mornington Peninsula) –  a yellow/gold burnish to this.  On the nose and in the mouth it shows rich white peach with oak, vanilla and a hint of smoke ‘n toast (30% new French oak), well met by a delicious charge of savoury, tangy, mouthwatering lemony acidity (no malo here).  Quite Burgundian (Cote d’Or not Chablis), with a lingering, subtly leesy, textured finish.  Good to go 5 years plus I’d think.  £15.99 at Philglass & Swiggot (2007 vintage)

Pierro Pinot Noir 2008 (Margaret River) – as you’d expect from this warmer region, this isn’t as aromatic and has a softer profile with sweet cherry, plum and chocolate truffle.  Lacks the intensity of its eastern cousins, but it delivers on the upfront pleasure front and has good varietal character.  Incidentally, neighbours Moss Wood are now making Pinot Noir in Mornington Peninsula as well as Margaret River – you can read my tasting note of the maiden vintage here.

Check out my regional report page here for my Pinot Noir and Chardonnay recommendations from January’s Australia Trade Tasting in London – some great Mornington Peninsula wines in particular, including Kooyong, Port Phillip’s sister winery.

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