Bannockburn Vineyards Pinot Noir 2022
This “outstanding” release is drawn from Bannockburn’s entire spectrum of vineyards (planted in 1976, 1997 and 2007), including fruit from the iconic, close-planted blocks. All the sites have volcanic loam and dark clay over a limestone base and are planted to various clones, mainly MV6 with a smattering of the Dijon (or Bernard) clones 114, 115and 777. Hand-picked fruit from each block fermented separately. Twenty percent whole bunches and a small portion of carbonic was used. The wine was then pressed to a combination of hogsheads and puncheons (20% new) for a ten-month élevage before blending.
Bursting with bright red fruit and with Bannockburn’s savoury/earthy signature woven throughout, there’s enticing purity, great fruit tannin and a deliciously supple mouthfeel. A touch of sweet-and-sour complexity on the finish offers a glimpse of things to come as it evolves, but it's absolutely singing already. Dive in.
“I guess that you'd call this light but its length and general insistence is right up there. Indeed, over the course of 24 hours this just built and expanded in the most impressive of ways. It's a minerally pinot noir, smoky and spicy, with red cherried flavour run through with herbs and twigs and undergrowth. In its infancy, now, it somehow manages to be quite remarkably complex; it will only add from here. Certainly, it's light but this is an outstanding pinot noir.”
95+ points, Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front
Variety - Pinot Noir
Country - Australia
Region - Victoria
Sub Region - Geelong, Moorabool Valley
Extra - Screwcap
Year - 2022
Volume - 750ml
Since its establishment by the late Stuart Hooper in 1974, Bannockburn Vineyards has been at the vanguard of the Australian fine wine story, producing vineyard designated wines of the highest quality from the start.
Stuart’s vinous passion was developed in WW2 Europe where he developed a fondness for the wines of Burgundy. Subsequently, on his return to Geelong and retirement, he developed Bannockburn Vineyards from scratch. Gary Farr (By Farr) became their first winemaker (1978 to 2004), and Bannockburn’s success is a large attributed to his visionary efforts.
Lying 25kms northwest of Geelong along the Midland Highway, the estate is located in the Moorabool Valley sub-region, just outside the township of Bannockburn. Here, Bannockburn’s predominantly mature vines are rooted in one of Victoria’s most unique low-fertility terroirs; volcanic surface debris and ancient sea beds running to richer and darker soils, layered over predominantly limestone bedrock.
Under Holmes’ (current Winemaker) direction there’s been a stylistic tilt in the winery, and with his Chardonnay, he’s steering a racier, more mouth-watering course—with less emphasis on lees and oak and more on vibrant acidity and freshness. Yet it is perhaps the style and quality of Bannockburn’s Pinot Noir in which the changes can be most keenly observed. An earlier-bottling regime and more reticent use of whole bunches are resulting in a purity of expression perhaps never seen under this label.
In the vineyards, Holmes works with Lucas Grigsby, Bannockburn’s viticulturist for over 30 years. Grigsby takes great pride in tending to the vineyards with a strong belief in organic farming practices to maintain the health of the soils and Bannockburn’s vines. Between them, the pair’s viticultural principles are based on a healthy respect for the land and responsible farming, e.g., the use of organic composting and straw mulching to eliminate the need for herbicide sprays and the cultivation of inter-row cover crops to add soil nutrients.
These principles flow through into the winery where Holmes employs minimal additions, wild yeast ferments and low intervention winemaking resulting in wines that are made with integrity and that are distinctively Bannockburn.