2017 Pinot Noir
We have been working very hard on our Pinot noirs in 2017. The vintage conditions were kind to us, allowing a slow, even ripening over a cooler March. Both the 2017 Inara and Layla Pinot noirs were bottled last week and we are eagerly awaiting their release, probably mid-December.
The 2017 Alena Pinot noir is still in barrel and we will be blending the wine sometime before Christmas. This year we carried out quite a few trials on tannin extraction as we want to ensure we only extract plush, silky tannins. We have been rewarded for our efforts with the wine maturing well. Our trials included one barrel of whole bunch, a couple of barrels of whole berry and another experiment where we slowly added a bit of oak tannin during the fermentation. This is based on a protocol from the Russian River Valley in California.
The common descriptors for the aromas and flavours of Pinot noir are strawberry, raspberry and cherry – sometimes these can appear more confected like boiled sweets or more like the fresh fruits. Pinot noir is a variety that likes a touch of oak – too much vanilla and clove spice can be overpowering but careful handling allows the oak to add spice to the wine. Being a thin-skinned variety, Pinot noir is lighter in colour than thicker skinned varieties, such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It also has more velvety tannins which makes it an appealing wine at any time! As it ages, it takes on game, mushroom and forest floor aromas and flavours – some even say ‘barnyard’.
If you want a lesson in what Pinot noir can do – why not buy a bottle each of our Inara, Layla and Alena? It will be a journey of discovery worth taking!
The differing aspects of the Helen & Joey Gruyere Vineyard offer micro-climates across the property. Pinot noir is grown on two blocks. The warmer Block D is on the hill next to Cellar Door where Pinot is more fruit forward – perfect for the Inara label. In the lower corner of the vineyard is E block – cooler due to mid-autumn fogs which results an a more restrained style for the Layla and Alena Pinots.