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Pinot Noir, Yarra 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.
The Yarra Valley is a wine region known for producing outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The region has become a leading wine tourism destination, popular for weekend trips as it is located only an hour’s drive northeast of Melbourne. The cool climate region has some of the oldest soils in the world and produces terrific Chardonnays in the leaner, acid-driven style. Long gone are the days of excessively oaked and oily Chardonnays. Superb Pinot Noir is cultivated with tremendous results. Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and even Sparkling wines of premium quality are also worth seeking out.

Yarra Valley is the oldest wine region in Victoria with the first vines planted in 1838 at Yering Station. Reg Egan founded the iconic Wantirna Estate in 1963, followed by Dr Bailey Carrodus in 1969 who founded equally lauded Yarra Yering in the foot of the Warramate Hills. Nowadays a fleet of new world winemakers and growers are making sure Yarra Valley stays at the forefront of Victorian wine production.

The region in 2009 suffered in the Black Saturday fires, with an estimated 25% of all production was impacted.
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  1. Airlie Bank Pinot Noir 2022
    A medium bodied palate with vibrant cherry and plum flavours. Hints of spice and oak. Cherry and plum aromas, with light smokiness, spice and floral notes. So much drinking pleasure to be had in this bright fruited Pinot Noir! Buy ... Learn More
  2. Punt Road Pinot Noir 2021
    A fruit driven style of Pinot with fragrant strawberry aromas and sweet berry flavours. Moderate acidity and feathery tannins frame an elegant palate of ripe cherry with a touch of earthiness. ... Learn More
  3. Yering Station Reserve Pinot Noir 2003
    This is not a Pinot you'd ever mistake for an Old World version—its palate is brimming with plums, berries and noticeable wood, but it still retains some recognizable varietal character. Soft, dusty tannins give it a good feel. The ... Learn More
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    Wine Enthusiast
  4. Giant Steps Primavera Pinot Noir 2020
    The single vinyard wine from Giant Steps have been produced in small quantities. Primavera is an outlier in the Giant Steps Single Vineyard series. This vineyard sits on red clay in the Upper Yarra, oddly a site that excels in ... Learn More
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    Huon Hooke
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    Mike Bennie
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    James Halliday's Wine Companion
  5. Giant Steps Primavera Pinot Noir 2021
    The single vinyard wine from Giant Steps have been produced in small quantities. Primavera is an outlier in the Giant Steps Single Vineyard series. This vineyard sits on red clay in the Upper Yarra, oddly a site that excels in ... Learn More
  6. Levantine Hill Pinot Noir 2013
    This extremely limited wine is a great showcase for the quality that is produced by Levantine Hill ... Learn More
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    James Halliday's Wine Companion
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    Campbell Mattinson
  7. Yarra Yering Carrodus Pinot Noir 2018
    A small bottling of the original Pinot Noir vines planted in 1969. Hand harvested and de-stemmed without crushing to retain whole berries in 600kg ‘tea chest’ fermenters. Some stalks return to bring lift and structure. Hand plunged twice daily for gentle ... Learn More
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    James Halliday
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    Huon Hooke
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