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A cracking Pinot Noir release here from one of the region's brightest boutique producers in Arfion. The Willowlake vineyard that supplied the fruit for this Pinot is one of the most highly regarded in the Yarra. The cooler conditions, steep south-facing slopes and ancient volcanic red soils result in fruit with detail, elegance, perfume and fine structure. As always with the Arfion wines, the winemaking is as hands-off as can be. The fruit was early picked to retain freshness and fermented with wild yeasts and 30% whole bunches in old French barriques. There was no plunging or pumping over of the fruit - Dave literally just used his arms to gently roll it over, a technique he reckons adds "more detail, more life, more pop." This is a beautifully easy, gentle Pinot that unravels itself in the glass. Charming, intriguing wine with not a hair out of place.
What it Tastes Like
Lifted aromatics of sweet red fruits, with some darker, earthen characters playing second fiddle. The palate is light-to-medium bodied, with a gentle, seamless palate full of red cherries and raspberries, and faint dustings of spice and tannin. Finishes long and fresh as a daisy. Both playful and serious, and not a hair out of place.
93 points "Pretty wine this awash with sweet cherry, tangy berry and fine, clove-cinnamon spice characters. Satiny texture, sappy-succulence and gently palate staining fruit sweetness are the take homes. It’s a transparent, pure, beautiful expression of pinot noir, with enough detail to convince nerds of its pedigree while gluttons will dig the drinkability. It’s a ripper here." - Mike Bennie (The Wine Front)
Pinot noir is high maintenance. In the vineyard and cellar it puts the pressure on you, but in the end it provides the greatest fun and reward. Our 2016 Pinot Noir shows spicy cherry, dark berry and campari notes. It’s a savoury, fine style with a soft toasty finish. Willowlake Vineyard – Gladysdale – Upper Yarra – Yarra Valley We work with Tim Wray at the outstanding Willowlake Vineyard in the Upper Yarra Valley. Located on a south facing slope in Gladysdale, the vineyard leads a pretty tough life. It’s a cold and weathered land operating at the very margins of grape growing. Mature vines hang off slopes on ancient, friable red and grey volcanic soils capping a tabled ridge of basalt. Vintage Spring 2015 started with a bang. Winter warmth, an abundance of soil water and above average spring temperatures steered an early budburst, fast shoot growth and great fruit yield. Everything was happening at a head spinning rate over the growing season and just as we were taking a breath, a little sporadic harvest rain came to test us with elevated disease pressure. Luckily, bright warm days followed, which produced the healthy and clean fruit we were asking for. 2016 was fast and furious, with both of our Pinot blocks picked in February.
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
Drink Until: 2024
About the Producer
New Zealand born Dave Mackintosh is the head man at Arfion. After cutting his teeth at Oyster Bay, Dave settled in Victoria’s Yarra Valley and after working with Steve Flamsteed at Giant Steps, began his own brand Arfion: which means ‘Our Wine’ in Scottish Gaelic.
Dave is all about letting the fruit do the talking, guiding rather than forcing, constantly searching for the simplest way to get young, energetic wines into the bottle for people to enjoy. His Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio are all effortless examples of wines made with a ‘less is more’ mentality. By working with some of the best growers in the Yarra Valley, Dave has put together a gorgeous range of wines that have interest and drinkability in spades.
The Yarra Valley stands tall as one of the country’s finest cool-climate wine regions. Only a short jaunt from Melbourne, the Yarra has become a tourist hot-spot for its stunning scenery, high quality produce, and of course, as the home to some of the country’s most iconic wine producers. From the extraordinarily elegant Cabernets and Syrahs that populate the ‘Valley floor’, to the precise and complex versions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that hail from the higher climes of the Yarra, this region is diverse and in a state of change. As temperatures rise and phylloxera infiltrates each pocket of the Yarra Valley, the range of alternative varieties from continental Europe is sure to increase to create a more colourful picture of the region. The Yarra embodies so much of what is great about the modern Australian wine scene.
No variety captures the hearts and minds of the wine lover quite like Pinot Noir. It’s the unicorn of many a winemaker. Notoriously fickle to grow, this delicate red variety can deliver a kaleidoscope of flavours and aromas, from the bright and floral to the moody and mysterious and everything in between. The cooler regions of Australia are where Pinot Noir is most at home. Look to Tasmania and Victoria for the best examples, with some quality wines beginning to show from the Great Southern and from the cooler parts of NSW. Falling in love with Pinot Noir can be a life long affair, beware the charms of this most enchanting of grapes.
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