Tag: By Farr

Feb 02 2012

Bannockburn Serré Vineyard Pinot Noir: A little slice of Burgundy in Geelong

Posted on February 02, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of making wine from a single vineyard is vintage variation. Most winemakers worth their salt will decide not to make a single vineyard wine if the vintage is deemed not to be superb.

The widely acclaimed Bannockburn Serré Pinot Noir is an excellent example of a top notch winemaker’s respect for the integrity of this approach. As winemaker Michael Glover explained to the Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown, “Our winemaking is reactive. You’re constantly reacting to what the season is.” (2008 Bannockburn Serré Pinot Noir by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, eRobertParker.com #195 June 2011)

The Bannockburn Serré Pinot Noir is made from a dry-grown, organically cultivated 1.2 hectare vineyard planted at Bannockburn in 1986. The vineyard was deliberately designed to match the tough conditions of the great grand crus vineyards of Burgundy. Closely planted vines (9,000-10,000 per hectare), narrow rows and low trellising force the roots to dig deep for moisture and nutrients, and limit crop yields. Apparently, in 2006 yields were so low that fruit from four vines were required to make just one bottle of wine!

Garry Farr of By Farr established Bannockburn’s reputation as one of the finest makers of pinot noir in Australia. But Glover, who took over in 2005, is taking the Serré to even greater heights. The Wine Front’s Campbell Mattinson describes Glover as “an idealist, a passionate man who’s done his time and made his mistakes and learnt the ropes – and has now been handed the keys to a set of Ferrarri-like vineyards, open licence to drive them really fast, and really well.” (From Evan to Earth, From Hands to Glover: Bannockburn by Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front 13 November 2006)

For Glover great wine is definitely made in the vineyard, and one of the … Read the rest

Jun 06 2011

Australian Pinot Noir: Coming into its Own!

Posted on June 06, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

A couple of decades ago, few believed that making great pinot noir outside of Burgundy was possible. Today Burgundy still holds the mantle for the most complex, elegant and sometimes ethereal expressions of pinot noir, but most people would agree that New World competitors are catching up.

To date, much of the limelight has been hogged by New World producers in New Zealand and Oregon. Last year, Craggy Range, for example,  picked up the prestigious ‘Wine of Show’ trophy in the 2010 Tri Nations Wine Challenge with their 2008 Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir from Martinborough. (Typically only the best wines from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are submitted to the highly respected Tri Nations competition.)

But what about the profile of Australia pinot noir?  Well, given that only 2.6 per cent of land under vine in Australia is devoted to pinot noir, it has probably already garnered a good deal more attention and respect than expected over the past decade.

The paucity of pinot noir plantings in Australia is due to a number of factors. First of all, no-one would argue that it isn’t one of the most challenging varieties in the world to grow. Correct site selection is absolutely essential (see Burgundy: Its about the Terroir), and the dedication of a patient, talented winemaker is almost an equal first. For these reasons, only brave, risk-taking smaller producers have typically been game to embrace the pinot noir challenge.

One of the pioneer of Australian pinot noir, Gary Farr of Geelong’s By Farr, has certainly demonstrated that when the right ingredients come together, the results can be outstanding. The well drained, low fertility soils over limestone of his hillside vineyards could have been lifted right out of Burgundy. Gary spent 13 vintages at Burgundy’s Domaine DujacRead the rest