Pinot Noir, Hunter Valley

Pinot Noir is a red grape that is one of the most challenging to grow in any part of the world. Due to its thin skin and tight bunches, it is susceptible to both mould and disease. However, when it is successful, it produces some of the most amazing wines in the world. Although its home is Burgundy, it has emerged as a popular variety in Australia. Representing only 1% of grapes crushed, it has built a high profile with a number of world-class, distinctly Australian wines being produced. The greatest examples coming from the cool climates of the Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong and the Yarra Valley.

Pinot Noir performs well on the deepish limestone based subsoils that are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or. However, yields need to be kept in check. Pinot Noir's concentration and varietal characters disappear rapidly if yields are excessive. Some of the best and most expensive wines in the world are still found in Burgundy.

Pinot Noir also plays a key role in Champagne, being blended with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. In the US, Oregon and Washington state are producing outstanding wines. In New Zealand, great Pinot Noirs are crafted in Martinborough and in Central Otago, New Zealand's only true continental climate.

The thin skins of Pinot Noir mean the wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However, the best wines have grippy tannins, fragrance and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, but as it matures, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouthfeel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey nuances emerging.
Internationally, Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s two most well known wine regions, alongside Barossa Valley in South Australia. Located about a two hour drive north of Sydney, the region is very popular for weekend escapes from the city of Sydney.

Hunter Valley’s climate includes regular droughts or floods, seemingly less than desirable conditions to grow grapes, with the hot, humid summers and cool winters. Nevertheless, the region has been under cultivation since the 1800’s and is responsible for putting Australian wine, in particular Sémillon and to a lesser extent Shiraz, on the world wine map. Winemaking pioneers such as Bruce Tyrrell (Tyrrell's Wines) and Len Evans helped the region gain worldwide recognition.

The famous Hunter valley Sémillon was for many years known as ‘Hunter Valley Riesling’ and is never matured in oak. It is however one of the most ageworthy whites in the country with bottles showing an inordinate ability to age gracefully. Bottle-aged Sémillons will often exhibit burnt toast and honey characteristics, slight nutty notes and supremely complex flavours on the palate. This palate complexity is coupled with soft acidity and the finish can be very long indeed.
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  1. Tyrrell'S Vat 6 Pinot Noir 2017
    First made in 1976, this wine took the world by storm, being included in the 'World's best dozen' at the Paris wine awards. Only made in years where the Pinot Noir is of high enough quality, this is an extremely rare ... Learn More
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    Gary Walsh
    Out of stock
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