MORNINGTON PENINSULA | AUSTRALIA
2019 VINTAGE RELEASE
Kevin Bell & Tricia Byrnes, owners of Hurley Vineyard are simply wonderful hosts and I’d encourage anyone to stop at their beautiful estate to see for themselves how good these wines are. Kevin & Tricia are immersed in the task of showcasing what their 3 differing single vineyard plots or climats can express from their estate in Balnarring, perched on a crest of volcanic red clay covered by a topsoil of stony red-brown clay loam.
Burgundy clearly inspired them to this endeavour, not to mimic the wines from the Cote d’Or in terms of taste but the ethos of single site expressions, terrior driven wines.
Planted in 1998 and 1999 the estate has 3.43 hectares of Pinot Noir across 3 clearly defined climats. Lodestone, Hommage and Garamond.
Kevin outlines that 2019 is very much an atypical vintage. Normally he picks at 12.8 to 13.00 baumé. It’s not the only thing he uses to measure the right picking time but knowing these plots so well its often the perfect time. In 2019, in middle of February (2 weeks earlier than normal) it hit 12.8. It was sugar ripe, but it was un-expressive in Kevin’s opinion. Kevin decided that this was a unique situation and left them on the vine, picked them half a baumé point higher than he would do. He was able to do that due to a very loyal picking team who picked all three vineyards 13.3 to 13.9 baumé in 3 days to achieve this. Normally it’s spread over several weeks. Wines have a fuller body this year. It’s not a change of direction, just as response to the vintage. Kevin references 2006 as the other vintage when this occurred.
WINEMAKING & ELEVAGE
Winemaking consists hand-picked fruit arriving to the winery, grapes are cooled overnight before 100% destemmed whole berries, no crushing or whole-bunch into open top fermenters. Pre-ferment maceration cold soak of approximately one week before fermentation with natural yeasts. Pigeage twice a day then post ferment maceration 5 to 7 days vintage dependent.
Gravity fed into a basket press then into 228ltr barrel for aging. Kevin and Tricia are passionately committed to one cooper, Sirugue, based in Nuit St George. Kevin highlights that he loves the fact the staves are air-dried for a minimum of 4 years before they are used for the barrels, giving the wood time to season and low toasting. 1/4 to 1/3 new oak for the elevage of each wine, 20 months approx. total aging, no racking at any stage until bottling and under gravity. On average the estate produces between 1000 and 1300 9ltr cases per year dependent on yield.
Estate Pinot Noir 2019
The Estate bottling is declassified’ Lodestone, Hommage and Garamond barrels, although in 2019 the majority comes from Hommage as no wine was bottled this year under this single climat, offering us simply superb value vs the efforts to produce. Kevin & Tricia would like preferably to simply bottle 3 single climats every vintage but they refuse to bottle any barrel not befitting the level they have come to expect from each site. Winemaking & Elevage is exactly the same making for a seriously high quality Estate Pinot Noir blend.
Lodestone Pinot Noir 2019
North-facing vineyard of 1.4 hect that was planted in 1999. It’s exposition due North means it gets the most sun exposure of the three climats. It contains the Burgundian clones 114, 115 and 777, as well as MV6. Lodestone is magnetite, an iron mineral abundant in the vineyard soil hence the name.
Garamond Pinot Noir 2019
Garamond is East facing and the last to be picked each year. It’s the coolest site given its exposure and is protected from the prevailing winds from SW and West coming across the valley behind the estate. Kevin passionately discussed with me the importance of picking parcel by parcel across this vineyard, despite the vineyard only being 1.2 hectares in size. All planted with MV6 Clone.
Awarded No1 Pinot Noir from Mornington for the 2018 vintage – Huon Hooke