My introduction to Pinot Noir was via cool climate, New World, wines that I loved. Over the years I have gravitated towards Burgundy for Pinot Noir but have always kept a watching brief on the more modern styles.
The differences between New World and Old World Pinot Noir could not be more stark.
That’s not to say that one is superior than the other, far from it. More that simply they are different beasts and show the diversity that the grape can offer given the climates and soils it’s grown in.
Traditionally, Pinot Noir is a difficult grape in every sense. Difficult to grow, difficult to vinify, the mark of a good winemaker is forged in Pinot Noir. I love it for it’s unforgivingness.
In the New World, and specifically Australia, it’s differences are laid bare. From fruitier models in the Hunter Valley – with body and structure – to the more lean versions that come from the colds of Tasmania, Pinot is the true expression of both terroir and wine-making skill that makes the best simply that.
The Farr odyssey starts with Gary Farr and continues uninterrupted with son Nick Farr. If you’re looking for the best of Australian Pinot Noir, you could do worse than starting with the Farr dynasty. By a long way.
Simply put, the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay produced by this family would put many Burgundian producer to shame. They are elegant, regal, pronounced, pick any metaphor you like. End of story – they are damn good wines.
This has a pale ruby hue, pronounced but soft – I can read a book through the wine with no problems. Then you get to the whack of aromas – intensely strawberry, dried cranberry, a herbal rosemary note then into that forest floor/mushroomy character that the New World has grown to love. Add in a slight herbal element and call this ‘complete’.
The intensity is replicated on the palate with fruit flavours of strawberry, raspberry and red plum taking hold first and foremost. Secondary characters of charred wood, black truffle and mushroom are pushed, ever so slightly, to the side, a dry but long and balanced finish completing the picture. Acidity and tannins all in check beautifully. It’s an accomplished wine, and then some.
I underscored the word ‘bright’ in my initial notes and I can’t help but think of this here. It’s a bright wine – fruit to the fore, but complexity abounds if you know where to look for it.
C+C Music Factory would have been stoked with this wine. It’s got things that make me go ‘Hmmmmm….’