William Downie is among the most talented and exciting winemakers in Australia. He releases three Pinot Noirs from vineyards on the Mornington Peninsula, the Yarra Valley and Gippsland. He also manages the large Thousand Candles project in the Yarra Valley.
The three Pinot Noir releases from 2013 are simply outstanding. The 2013 vintage was warmer, and the wines are more open and generous than those from 2012. These wines are utterly delicious on the palate. They share a velvety texture and a beautiful expanding finish ( Burgundian fan). The Yarra Valley wine shows strawberry flavours, the Mornington Peninsula wine is more masculine and in the black cherry spectrum. The Gippsland wine is in between, but with the highest complexity. These wines hardly have their equal in Australia. The quality is similar, the choice a matter of personal preference.
I find it harder to warm to the 2013 Thousand Candles wine. The concept is to let the site, which is in the middle of the Yarra Valley, shine through. The varieties are not emphasized. In 2013, the majority is Shiraz, blended with Pinot Noir. There are many other varieties planted on the site, so that in the future different blends will be produced, and most likely more than one wine. The 2013 is nicely balanced, but it is just a nice aromatic, cooler climate Shiraz. More work needs to be done to determine how to make this wine special. The site, the winemaker, and the investment should be able to deliver this over time.