Autumn in Geelong and down on the Bellarine is a very busy and exciting time for those working in wine (as in all wine regions) because as you’re reading this, harvest is more than likely in full swing bringing in the new seasons crop of fruit with expectations high and hopefully it turns out to be a good year for all those involved. Depending on the variety, the grapes would’ve already or nearly completed ‘veraison’ which is when they start to change color, so too, we all know as we get deeper into Autumn that the leaves change color and we notice that extra chill in the night air, which makes it a perfect time to skip the sparkling wines, white wines and rosé for something a little deeper, earthy, fragrant and silky...ah, Pinot Noir that most majestic and alluring of grape varieties is calling us, it’s time has come...
Many winemakers describe it as the ‘Holy Grail’ of winemaking, some are totally obsessed yet pinot noir production can be a difficult business to get right. Elegance and finesse are the keys to success alongside ethereal perfumed fragrance with ripe, aromatic dark cherry fruits and spice. Lurking underneath on the palate are the layers of undergrowth/forest floor complexities, wild mushroom, dark fruits and spice, all wrapped up in a textured mouth-feel that is seamlessly soft and supple. If you’re intending on getting to know what all the fuss is about in respect to quality pinot noir, then Geelong regional pinot noirs are a great place to start. Our region produces premium world class examples of this wonderful variety and each sub region expresses its own subtle style.
Down on the Bellarine Peninsula the beautifully deep, dark, black soils and rolling hills and close proximity to Port Phillip Bay, produce a more cherry/strawberry fruit influenced style of pinot noir. Look for producers like Scotchman’s Hill, Mermerus, Bellarine Estate, Curlewis Winery, Ponda Estate, Oakdene, Leura Park, Jack Rabbit, Banks Road/Soho Road and Marcus Hill Vineyard to name but a few.
Further inland up in the Moorabool Valley where the climate is more Mediterranean-like and the soil is rich dark loam over an ancient seabed limestone base, the pinot noirs tend to be darker cherry/plum fruited, with earthy fragrance and spice. This is where some of the more high profile producers such as By Farr and Bannockburn are located alongside dominant producers such as Clyde Park, Provenance, Austins, Lethbridge, and Del Rios wineries.