Australian pinot noir comes of age

As Australian winemakers and growers have come to terms with pinot's rather capricious nature, the wines have blossomed.
As Australian winemakers and growers have come to terms with pinot's rather capricious nature, the wines have blossomed. Photo: Shutterstock

 Almost unknown in Australian vineyards 50 years ago, pinot noir is now a mainstay in many regions. Not that long ago the wines were simple, light, dry reds at best, but as winemakers and growers have come to terms with pinot's rather capricious nature, the wines have blossomed. At home in cooler places such as southern Victoria and Tasmania, the variety's mysterious charm finds expression across many styles, from elegantly light and ethereal, to rich and exotic.

Wickhams Road Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2018, $18-$20

Score 90

Hoddles Creek winery is a great source of reasonably priced pinot noir. One of its entry-level pinots, this Yarra Valley wine has raspberry, earth and foresty aromas, fresh, vibrant flavour, and a supple mid-palate, finishing slightly stemmy to give a savoury edge. Screw cap; 13.2 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink over three years.

Stockists include Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne (Vic); Summer Hill Wine Shop, Summer Hill (NSW).

Holm Oak The Wizard Pinot Noir 2017, $60-$65

Score 93

From Tasmania's Tamar Valley, The Wizard offers a nose of deep red cherry fruit, notes of caramel, a meaty touch and a dab of quality oak. It's silky and seamless in the mouth, fairly light but deliciously succulent, with a lingering finish supported by fine, drying tannins. Screw cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink over five years.

Stockists include Potts Point Liquor & Deli, Potts Point (NSW); Carwyn Cellars, Thornbury (Vic).

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Pipers Brook Single Vineyard Block A10 Pinot Noir 2017, $70-$75

Score 94

Just north of Launceston, Pipers Brook is one of Tasmania's best known wineries. Block A10 pinot smells intensely of cherry and plum, spice and bitter chocolate. The richly flavoured palate is concentrated in flavour and tightly structured with ripe tannins and mouth-watering acidity. Needs time. Screw cap; 13.4 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Yes, one to 10 years.

Stockists include Wine Ark Wine Storage stores (NSW); or online from kreglingerwineestates.com