William Downie is one of the most exciting young winemakers in Australia. In a recent article by Jancis Robinson he was listed as one of five Australian producers to try. He fashions three Pinot Noirs from vineyards in the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Gippsland. His objective is to show the different terroirs through his wines.
His wines can be difficult to find, particularly in 2014, when the yields were down by up to 50%. The vintage was difficult in Victoria, and the wines don't reach the levels of previous years, yet they are still very attractive.
The 2014 William Downie Yarra Valley Pinot Noir is the lightest of the three. It is also the most Burgundian. The wine is quite floral and feminine, in the strawberry spectrum. It has good persistence and a lovely texture (93/++ points).
The 2014 William Downie Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir is most unusual. The colour is much darker, and the wine is not actually clear at this point. All Downie wines are unfined and unfiltered, and this wine is still cloudy. The flavours on the palate are complex, with black cherry and mulberry dominating. The texture is rich, and the wine seems stable. It tastes like Pinot Noir, not like some Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noirs which taste more like Shiraz. I enjoyed this wine a lot, but it is hard to predict what will become of it. One for the adventurous (92/+++points).
The 2014 William Downie Gippsland Pinot Noir differs more than the others from previous vintages. It is usually my favorite because of the velvety tannins, which are not so obvious in this wine. The 2014 is a funky wine, with strong rustic and earthy flavours. There is some bitter orange in this wine (91/++points).
Overall, a very interesting set of wines, showing the regional differences very well.