Pinot Noir is the classical red grape variety of Burgundy, France. A bottle of French Burgundy (Bourgogne) red wine must be made 100% from Pinot Noir grapes. As for most regional wines, quality and price vary enormously with the highest quality (Grand Cru) burgundies selling for up to $4000 per bottle for current vintage!
In recent times, Australia has shown itself to be capable of producing high quality Pinot Noir wines, predominantly from the truly cool climate regions such as Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, Macedon, Geelong, Tasmania and, in South Australia, parts of the Adelaide Hills.
Pinot Noir is a wine with lighter colour and body than the traditional Australian red wines like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon because there is significantly less pigment and tannin in the skins. However, a quality Pinot wine lacks nothing in complexity or intensity of aroma and flavour. The fruit flavours are usually predominantly those of dark cherries and strawberries but these should be accompanied by secondary features which become more prominent with time. These are often described as earthy, gamey, sappy, spicy, forest floor and even pooey although I prefer funky! In addition, there is often a perfumed, floral component reminiscent of violets.
These characters make Pinot a very alluring and different wine. Add to this a full and persistent palate with a fine, silky texture and you have something really exciting. A good Pinot is a wine to nose, sip, roll around in the mouth, savour and contemplate as it reveals its multiple layers of aromas, flavours and complexities.
Pinot Noir is a fickle variety, both in the vineyard and the winery. Quality is very sensitive to crop size (must be low-cropping), terroir, season and winemaking techniques. It is much more prone to oxidation than other more robust heavier reds and must be protected from this type of spoilage throughout its life. High quality small French oak barrels are usually used for maturation. In consequence, a good Pinot is never a ‘cheap’ wine but beware, it is addictive and once you become a ‘Pinotphile’, your habit may prove quite expensive!
Barratt has produced Pinot Noir since 1993: initially, a single wine per vintage but since 2001, we have produced an entry level wine called ‘The Bonython’ with fruit sourced predominantly from our Bonython vineyard planted in 1997, ‘The Reserve’ mainly from our Uley vineyard planted in 1983 and, more recently a purpose-made, elegant, aromatic, dry Pinot Rosé called Piccadilly Sunrise.
The Barratt Pinot wines are made to show elegance and have all of the best qualities and characters described above. Often, they are quite ‘tight’ or ‘closed’ on release but will develop slowly but surely during bottle maturation and exhibit a wonderfully long life with careful cellaring. We hope you enjoy our efforts with this enchanting grape!