William Downie Gippsland Pinot Noir 2015
One of the most highly regarded Australian winemakers, William “Bill” Downie established his own label in 2003 after several years of living and working in Burgundy. He is fanatical about the quality of his fruit and where it comes from, so sources fruit from vineyards that use biodynamic and organic viticultural practices when possible. Although each of the William Downie wines is made from Pinot Noir, the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Gippsland are more different than they are similar.
Medium ruby colour. Lifted and delightfully aromatic with ripe red cherries, raspberries, redcurrant, pretty floral violets and a hint of smoke and earthy forest floor wafting from the glass. The concentrated palate offers silky flavours of red fruit, earth and spice. A textured mouthfeel with chewy tannins and a crisp acidity, which closes in a persistent smoke and fruit finish.
The fruit is carefully selected and hand harvested from vineyards situated in Lucinda Estate and Berry’s Creek near Leongatha in South Gippsland. Organic principles are implemented wherever possible in the vineyards. The vineyard soils here are red volcanic clay loam and are situated 120 metres above sea level. The vines were planted in 1990 and 1998 respectively, both with a density of 6,500 vines per hectare. The fruit is hand sorted and destemmed before fermentation took place in wooden open-top fermenters. The wine receives minimal intervention, with no temperature regulation, punch downs or additions made. The wine was pressed after 30 days of maceration and then filled to 30% new french oak for 10 months. Finally, the wine was bottled without fining or filtration.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
– 95 POINTS
It smells of spring flowers. The palate is a different dimension entirely: it’s searingly fresh, cranberried, boysenberried, splashed with beet and rooted with twigs. It’s dry, spicy and seriously firm; it has the intensity of a prosector’s question; it’s a wine of such presence it almost makes you squirm, or fidget. This is the kind of wine JRR Tolkien might have made; it’s an underworld unto itself, simultaneously sordid and soiled and turned brilliantly fresh. The healthiest, most rotten soils often smell sweet and enticing; such is the field this wine hoes.