Reviews: 95 Points James Halliday Wine Companion 2022
95 Points The Wine Front
2020 was a mild season with average rainfalls for most months, pushing our harvest dates into the second week of March.
After a dry start to winter we received good rain fall over late June and July, achieving soil saturation and a positive start to the growing season. Average rainfall continued through to Spring with cooler than average temperatures though August and September. Luckily, October brought warmer than average temperatures with two record high days on the 24th and 31st with dryer conditions overall. Unfortunately, strong winds affected flowering in the vineyard and thus the yields. The warm weather continued into Summer with November being the hottest month on record. Growth in the vineyard was exceptional and produced lush canopies, protecting the fruit. Mid to late Summer however was generally mild with January and February receiving higher than average rainfall.
The mild summer delayed vintage by 2 weeks irrespective of the low yields. In some blocks the small crops were the reason we were able to ripen the fruit, with picking dates into the second week of April.
Overall, a challenging season to manage, irrespectively of the other issues of bushfires and lockdowns the country was dealing with. Even with the low yield (some blocks down 60%) we are extremely fortunate to have great (clean) wines from 2020 and are saddened by so many that weren’t as fortunate.
Harvest date: 11 - 18/03/2020
Baume: 12.5-13.0 bè
Soil: deep red volcanic / basalt
Av. yields tons/acres: 1.4
Fruit is hand handpicked and sorted in the vineyard. A combination of de-stemmed ferments and 100% whole bunch ferments are used. Must is cold soaked for 4 days then natural fermentation occurs with no temperature control. Malolactic fermentation occurs during primary. Open ferments are pumped over daily. Wine is gently pressed off skins and run straight to French oak for barrel maturation on lees in 30% new oak (300 & 500L) barrels. Wine is not filtered or finned but allowed to clarify naturally in the cellar prior to bottling. This minimal handling maximisers delicate “Pinot character” flavours.
Due to the tiny yields in 2020 the Old Vine Reserve Pinot Noir wasn’t made, instead the old vine production went into our first Dr McMahon Pinot Noir and this wine. The slightly different blend for this Estate has made it more earthy and complex then usual. One of our favorite wines from 2020 and think it is drinking great now and will only get better with a few more years. Drink 2023 – 2035.
Production: 450 dozen
Acidity: 5.9 g/L