Pinot parade and gorgeous gamays
The latest Bindi and By Farr pinot noirs are exceptional, as we have come to expect. Top of the chart in my latest tasting of 55 pinots and a handful of gamays was the By Farr 2015 Côte Vineyard Pinot Noir, which ranks alongside Tout Près as one of the Farr family’s flagship wines, costing AUD $110. It is a gorgeous wine, decadent, powerful and delicious. The AUD $62 By Farr Irrewarra Pinot Noir 2015, which is from a separate, non-Farr-family site, is also very good in a more solid style, while the 2016 Farr Rising (Nick Farr) Pinot Noir is good, if a way behind the others, but then so is the price (AUD $48). I also tasted Nick’s sister’s wines, the Philippa Farr 2016 pinots from Gippsland and Mornington, liking both of them and marginally preferring the Gippsland wine.
Bindi is in a cold site, which may help explain why the 2016 pinots are scarcely less impressive than the stellar 2015s, from a much more heralded vintage in southern Victoria. They are all superb, with the caveat that I liked the Dixon the least as it’s a chunkier, less refined style – but still excellent. However, the Block 5 and Original Vineyard are megastars, with only a cigarette paper between them. Block 5 is a nose ahead, with its tremendous underlying power and structure, while the Original Vineyard is already very seductive, graceful and refined.
One other wine I’d like to draw attention to is the 2017 Giant Steps, which is this winery’s early-release, entry-level pinot, but what a cracker it is, and what great value at AUD $35 and 93 points! If this is an indication of what’s to come from the yet-to-be-released single vineyard 2017 Giant Steps pinots, we are in for something very special. Some winemakers are saying the ’17 pinot vintage is even better than ‘15. Can’t wait.
The Giant Steps LDR Pinot Noir Syrah 2017 (AUD $35) is also noteworthy: a ‘light dry red’ blend of these two varieties which was started by Medhurst and Yarra Yering as a homage to Maurice O’Shea, and is becoming quite a thing in the Yarra these days.
What about good-value, affordably priced pinots (and gamays)?
Here’s a list that I picked out as being exceptional value under AUD $40. All rated silver ribbon, ie. 90-94 points:
- South Island Pinot Noir 2016, Central Otago (exclusive to BWS and Dan Murphy’s. Astonishing wine for the price – AUD $16)
- Corduroy Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017, Adelaide Hills (AUD $28)
- Punt Road Napoleone Vineyard Block 18 Gamay 2017, Yarra Valley (AUD $28)
- Nanny Goat Pinot Noir 2016, Central Otago (AUD $33)
- Giant Steps Pinot Noir 2017, Yarra Valley (AUD $35)
- Eldridge Estate PTG Gamay Pinot Noir 2017, Mornington Peninsula (AUD $35)
- Mount Trio Home Block Pinot Noir 2015, Porongurup (AUD $35)
- Shadowfax Pinot Noir 2016, Macedon Ranges (AUD $36)
- Clemens Hill Pinot Noir Coal River Valley 2014, Tasmania (AUD $36)