Saturday, May 23, 2009

William Downie Pinot Noir

William Downie, the Goumet Traveller young wine maker of the year 2006, pursues an interesting project. He makes Pinot Noir from three different regions, Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Gippsland, and he is interested in the characteristics of the area coming through in the wine.

I had a chance to taste the 2008 releases and three back vintages of the Yarra Valley Pinot Noir.

The 2008 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir displayed the brightest colour. The palate showed red fruit, mainly cherry characteristics and already quite a lot of secondary flavours like mushrooms and forest floor. The 2004 was still fresh and drinking well. The 2005 and 2007 were a bit closed, showing that this wine closes up for a couple of years in the 2-4 year period of maturity.

The 2008 Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir was much darker, with black cherry, even blackberry fruit. This is a big Pinot with just over 14% alcohol, but I must say the wine was carrying it well.

My favorite was probably the 2008 Gippsland Pinot Noir which in its flavour profile sits between the other two. The outstanding feature, though, is the silkiness of the tannins which provides a lovely finish to this wine. A new Bass Phillip in the making?

All the wines are well made and while they do not yet reach the absolute top echelon of Pinot making in the country, this is a wine maker to watch.

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