This Port Phillip Estate vineyard is located on the Mornington Peninsula at Balnarring, on Miocene sedimentary soils. Our wines are made from domain grown, handpicked grapes and aim to manifest terroir: the integration of our geology and soils with the macroclimate of our region, the mesoclimates of the various sites within our vineyard and the weather of the annual grape growing season. Our cultural operations in the vineyard and practices in the winery endeavour to articulate these unique characteristics diligently, respectfully and without artifice.
The 2013-2014 growing season started with a warm winter followed by strong early season growth and an early spring with above average temperatures. An extended cold and wet period in October and November lead to a prolonged flowering period with reduced fruit set, resulting in below average yields.
This cold period continued throughout December, finally broken by a warm summer with several heat waves during the month of January. A warm February and the lower yields brought an earlier than usual start to harvest.
Mild March weather and the lower yields made for a short and steady harvest for both our viticultural and winery teams.
While yields were low, the quality of the fruit was very high producing wines that impress with depth, length and linear direction.
Now in its third year, this wine represents the exploration of our second site, located in Balnarring. This vineyard, planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, was acquired in 2007 but originally established in 1997. The original plantings comprise two distinct areas of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A third area has been planted to Pinot Noir, exploiting the higher-density planting matrix found throughout the Pinot Noir growing regions of the Old World.
This wine was fermented in a combination of large-format wooden foudre and stainless steel tanks. The ferment, with a portion of whole bunches, commenced without yeast inoculation and lasted 17 days. Following fermentation, the wine was pressed and racked into French oak barriques (of which 18% were new) and underwent indigenous malolactic fermentation. The wine was racked only for bottling, with a total maturation period of 12 months. It was then bottled without fining or filtration.
The 2014 Port Phillip Estate Balnarring Pinot Noir shows varietal characteristics of lifted sappy cherry fruit with hints of savoury spice and undergrowth. The palate delivers a juicy texture along with flavours of raspberry and red cherry, delivering a lengthy finish that is immersed in fine grained tannin.
Musky, spicy aromas of dark cherries, blueberries, dark plums and fresh cedary oak are backed by scents of clove, nutmeg and cola plus a hint of animal hide. It’s long and evenly balanced, with a rich core of dark plum, berry and cherry flavours moving down a pliant, loose-knit spine towards a lingering, slightly funky finish. It’s still very elemental and needs more time to settle and flesh out.
Hand-picked, destemmed, some whole bunches, natural yeast, 7 days cold soak, open-fermented, 5 days post-fermented maceration, matured in French oak (20% new) for 11 months, not fined or filtered. Good depth to the colour; spicy plum aromas and flavours are the cornerstones of the wine, which flows evenly across the palate until a slightly short finish.
Game and rubber, twigs and sweet-sour cherries. No prisoners, no compromises. Perhaps a bit drying through the finish, but you have to admire the parade it puts on.