Ashton Hills Piccadilly Valley Pinot Noir 2016
SPECIAL DOZEN BUY. Silky and juicy .. this vintage is on song!
Ashton Hills has the oldest pinot vineyard in the Adelaide Hills. Stephen George wears two winemakers’ hats … one for his Ashton Hills wines coming from his estate vineyard high in the Adelaide Hills, the other for the iconic Wendouree wines in Clare. He refers to his dry grown Piccadilly Valley vineyard planted back in 1982 as the “Burgundy of the Adelaide Hills”. Stephen is one of Australia’s most highly respected winemaking viticulturalists and a pioneer of Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir. In 1982 he planted his dry-grown 3 hectare vineyard (which he refers to as his garden!) and has experimented much with trellising and planting 21 different pinot clones and settled on the best performing 5 clones. To give you an idea of the attention to detail of this craftsman, sometimes they go through 4 times hand picking the same row to ensure optimum ripeness! The result is sublime pinot noir.. unfortunately in minuscule quantities!
About the 2016 vintage … “The 2016 growing season in the Adelaide Hills started early and was over in a flash. A warm spring resulted in early flowering and great flavour development, with stronger than average yields hand-thinned to maximise fruit flavour and concentration.”
The Piccadilly Valley Pinot Noir is a blend of fruit from the Ashton Hills vineyard, Grigg’s Cemetery Block (right next to the quaint graveyard in the neighbouring township, Uraidla) and the Blefari Bickles Rd Vineyard, about 1km south west of Ashton Hills. Stephen George has long-harboured an ambition to, “showcase Grigg’s fruit and to assess the influence our fruit has on the blend.” The result is typically a medium bodied palate with the influence of Cemetery Block providing juicy fruit from the warmer clime, along with silky texture and fine structured tannins that are typical of the Ashton Hills Vineyard.
Grapes were handpicked, keeping the five individual clones used separate in small open fermenters. Some whole bunch fruit was added to ferments, enhancing aromatics and structural complexity. Fermentation was initiated by indigenous yeast (wild ferment). Each clonal parcel was basket pressed and filled to mature seasoned French oak barrels with full solids for 10 months. All barrels were kept on lees to build palate, body and complexity and racked off lees just prior to bottling. 14% Alc
94 points, Decanter, Jan 2018 “Stephen George is one of Australia’s most detail-driven winemakers, who also makes wines for cult winery Wendouree in the Clare Valley. His three hectare dry-farmed Ashton Hills ‘garden’ vineyard lies at a height of 570m in the Piccadilly Valley, and is home to Australia’s oldest Pinot Noir vines, planted in 1982. Ashton Hills was bought by McLaren Vale’s Wirra Wirra in 2015, but George still has a hand in both viticulture and winemaking. Not for nothing are his Pinots known as the ‘Burgundies of the Adelaide Hills’: this wine, from four clones, is basket pressed and wild-yeast fermented before spending time in 20% new oak barrels and neutral hogsheads. It has amazing purity of rich fruit, showing aromas and flavours of ripe cherry and strawberry, exotic spices and autumn leaves. It’s savoury and silky with firm structure and bright acidity. Superb! Drinking Window 2018 – 2021″
93 points, James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion “Fruits of the forest, mint, florals, cherries and anise-studded deli meats. It offers a wide variety of aromas and flavours and does so with a great deal of charm. It will arguably drink at its best in its youth but there’s certainly no hurry.”
91 points, Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front “… There’s a semblance of warmth but from there it’s pure Ashton Hills. Macerated cherries, a gentle sweet-sourness, oodles of spice, florals and a foresty/minty note. A general meatiness too. It has life, character and charm, and more than a little firmness to boot..”
93 points, The Advertiser, Tony Love’s Top 100 Wines “This is such a lovely wine, with its violet fragrance and companion aromatics as you taste, and while quite powerful it sits evenly in the mouth with a cherry juice feel and soft spicy tannins that encourage just another little pour for good measure.”
David Brooks, The Adelaide Review “This wine stands out for its airy, ethereal demeanour; akin to a Poulsard from the Jura in France, there is a diaphanaous curtain of ripe fruit, poised delicately with plenty of light/space with a lovely savoury palate. It’s just delicious drinking.”
RRP $41 **SPECIAL DOZEN BUY … Only $29.99 when you buy 12 of this wine**
|Region or Country||
Adelaide Hills, Australia
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