What a chilly morning to start the long weekend, 5C is perfect for a brisk morning walk. By the time the group got together to savor San Antonio’s 4Q comeback win over the Miami Beat, the sun popped up signalling that it was time for the sausages and cabbage salad. In honor of Greg Popovich’s gruff disdain at the media’s interest in his fondness for Pinot Noir, I busted a couple of our local Australian interpretation of this fine wine. I had wanted at least one American pinot but the Copain single vineyards are $120 here, a little past the budget for this weekend.
All 3 bottles are from the 2012 vintage which presented in a varied manner for the regions represented. In the Canberra district, the year turned out to the coolest on record, and was one of the wettest, giving the wet collected in 2011 a good challenge. Slow ripening of fruit all around. In the Mornington Peninsula, depending on which pocket the vineyard resided in, there was early spots of mildew which could be confidently addressed. Consistent ripening conditions allowed good flavours to develop, but yields were slightly down. 2012 will be a stand-out year for the Yarra Valley Pinot Noir fruit. In what is being called an exceptional vintage, after an initial nervous wet spell to begin the season, the weather conditions steadied over ummer and vineyard activity really ramped up over February and March.
The Clonakilla Pinot Noir 2012 ($36) was only sufficient to fill a single 300L hogshead and is already sold-out at the winery. The colour intensity is certainly unexpected, medium with a watery rim, much lighter than the other two wines. Youthful, light smoky aromas of Asian spiced plums and beetroot broth. Dry, medium- bodied wine, soft tannins that are accessible now. Nice savoury dark berry fruit, slightly grassy with a hint of soy. Medium acidity with 13% alc, but given the lighter fruit weight it suffices. Lacks depth albeit well-balanced, this is a wine that isn’t trying to be something it can’t be. Is it worth $36? I’d struggle to say yes, and I bought it because it is a Clonakilla limited label, and I have one more bottle. Enjoyable now, not for the cellar. 86/100.
Scorpo Vineyard & Wines is in Merricks North, Mornington Peninsula and produces two Pinots, an Estate ($45) and the Noirien ($30). The Scorpo Noirien 2012 has an intense ruby-purple colour, with youthful clean aromas of black cherry and red plum. A dry, full-bodied wine with high acidity, 14% alc, the tannins are fine grained and abundant enough to suggest a few years in the bottle. Lovely dark berry fruit flavours, this has a tasty finish which suggests Duck a l’orange . Drink now – 2018. 89/100.
The Punt Road Napoleone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 ($22) is made from hand-picked and de-stemmed fruit, but the grapes aren’t crushed, instead undergoing whole bunch fermentation. Plunging throughout the fermentation process extracts colour and flavour, afterwhich they are pressed, then racked into French oak barrels (a third new) and matured for 10 months. Medium+ – intense ruby colour, with youthful aromas of black cherry, cardamom seeds, Moroccan spice and hint of summer florals. A dry, med+ bodied wine with smooth velvety tannins and high acidity. Clean, pure fruit flavours of dark berries, plum and clear blackberry on the finish. A nice easy drinking wine with sufficient complexity to satisfy. Drink now – 2018. 89-90/100.