Honey Moon Vineyard Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir 2017
Winemakers Jane & Hylton have observed over the years that their pinot vines are very responsive to different vintage conditions. The 2017 vintage was distinctly cool (and late – they picked their pinot four weeks later than normal) and yielded intensely perfumed but delicately flavoured fruit. The vintage felt really different and they eagerly awaited the “Pinot Fairy” to pop along and sprinkle her magic. She did – sometime during the winter of 2018 – and they are delighted with the outcome. The resultant wine is, to them, noticeably different in style compared to their line of more structural, deeper-coloured Pinot Noir~Extras (of 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013) and they have chosen to signal this season-related departure in style by not using the "Extra" tag.
Vineyard & Grapes – Four Pinot Noir clones: 777, 114, 115 and MV6 from the Honey Moon Vineyard, situated on the high ridges of Echunga (elevation of 420m to 410m), where the soils are predominately light brown alluvial loam over a deep layer of red ironstone clay. The vineyard covers a sunny, northfacing, slope. On heat summation data, the Honey Moon Vineyard site is a little cooler than Côte Rôtie and a little warmer than Burgundy.
2017 Vintage – the growing season started very slowly with a wet and cold Spring. This delayed bud-burst and early shoot growth, which then delayed flowering, veraison and, eventually, ripening. Fortunately, dry mild weather throughout summer and into autumn allowed them to harvest grapes in perfect condition for making their Pinot Noir dry red.
Winemaking – hand harvested on the 12th April. A variety of yeast strains, indigenous and selected, were used for fermentation, which was carried out in small open tubs. Typically ferments peaked at 30°C and were hand plunged 2 – 3 times per day. Some ferments contained a proportion of whole bunches. Fermentation proceeded over 11 days then the wines were basket-pressed off skins; following this malolactic fermentation was completed in tank. After malolactic fermentation the wines were racked into seasoned French barriques – oak types being Allier and Troncais. After 16 months in oak the wine was blended then bottled, in August 2018.
Tasting Notes – Appearance: Bright warm scarlet red with a vibrant vermillion hue.
Aroma: Fresh, intense and lively – of ripe cherry, cool spice, violets and subtle French oak notes of cedar and citrus.
Palate: First a mix of fresh red berry flavours (which persist to contribute a pleasing fruit sweetness on the mid palate), then violets and spice; a soft yet slightly drying tannin structure soon chimes in, which combines with the fruit and subtle oak notes to give a perfumed and long finish. This is a beautiful Pinot Noir from a very cool but dry Adelaide Hills vintage. Jane & Hylton make their wines so that they are able to mature quite slowly in the bottle, developing even more complexity with age. While drinking well now, it will continue to evolve in the bottle over the next 5-10 years or so.
Serving and food matching: Well suited to a range of medium-weight dishes from pasta through to light roasts.