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 2014-2015 growing season began with lower than average rainfall throughout the winter. Budburst occurred at a normal time and was followed by a spring that also had lower than average rainfall, along with moderate temperatures. These growing conditions led to vines with less vigour than usual. Flowering conditions were good; however, we received slightly below average yields due to cold conditions experienced during the 2013 flowering period. Several large periods of rainfall throughout the season were managed effectively, and the vineyard remained disease free.
The period between January and late March was relatively cool, with January much cooler than historically usual. With the exception of one rain event, the mild and still weather continued throughout the harvest period. This allowed for a calm yet constant harvest for the viticultural team. Harvest began in late February and was finished in late March.
Now in its fourth 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 approximately 15% whole bunches, commenced without yeast inoculation and lasted 18 days. Following fermentation, the wine was pressed and racked into French oak barriques (of which 20% 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 and with minimal filtration.
The 2015 Port Phillip Estate Balnarring Pinot Noir delivers a heady mixture of black cherry and blackcurrant aromas along with some spicy whole-bunch-derived complexity. The palate opens with raspberry flavours and a juicy mid-palate that is well supported by tannin. The broad, powerful finish is capped off with fine mineral intensity and balanced acid. It shows good mid-term ageing potential.
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.