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2001 Hurley Vineyard Pinot Noir
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- Cellar 3 - 4 years (2007-2008)
- ABV 13%
- Closure: Cork
In the late 1990’s owning your own vineyard was a status symbol, which acknowledged that you had reached a high degree of financial independence or in some cases were loaded to the eyeballs with cash. The romance of inviting your business colleagues down to the vineyard to sip Chardonnay over a leisurely Sunday lunch was deemed the high point of entertainment. Reality has set in during the 2000’s with nearly 1700 vineyards now in Australia and the rude awakening that the wine business is very competitive. The long Sunday lunches are a thing of the past, as friends, having been coerced into picking grapes, no longer find themselves available – The cash burn rate escalades as the economies of scale come into reality. Work has to be done on the vineyard on a continuing basis. As soon as one season finishes another starts. The costs of machinery and equipment laying idle for most part of the year begin to hurt, as maintenance and breakdown bills mount. The enthusiastic partner soon finds other interests and the kids take a ‘runner’ as they soon tire of the forced free labour that is expected. A broken back, a cold soak in June, July and August during pruning, a cut finger, or worse a missing finger and all this for the glory of sipping your own Chardonnay. The bitter reality sinks in that your home grown bottle of Chardy has cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars – in fact one could easily afford to drink cases of Le Montrachet, and still have money in the bank.
Kevin Bell and Tricia Byrnes are two of Melbourne’s top ‘Legal Eagles’ who have established a 9 acre Pinot Noir vineyard at Balnarring in the Mornington Peninsula.Kevin’s job is a Q.C. who specialises in administration, industrial, revenue, constitutional and native title law, whereas Tricia is a solicitor who specialises in commercial estate and family law. The pair satisfy the first criteria of owning a vineyard – they have the money! However there is more to the story. They both have a passion for Pinot Noir, and know what they are doing. Kevin describes the terroir in the following way.“The Hurley Vineyard wraps around the north-eastern crest of a small sheltered hill. The hill is capped by volcanic, stony, red-brown earth. This soil type both retains moisture and drains very well. The Peninsula is very well suited climatically to the production of Pinot Noir, and the sub-region in which Balnarring is situated perhaps particularly so. Our site is somewhat unusual: it is low but southerly, it receives reasonable spring and summer rainfall, it has the richer ferric soil of the higher sub-region rather than the sandy soils of the Moorooduc plains (which opens up the potential for non-irrigated vines) and it has ripening parameters closer to Red Hill than the more northern vineyards in the sub-region.”
The 2001 Pinot is the first vintage made from 3 year old vines – which is a wonderful start for the pair. Usually Pinot Noir needs to have some age on the vines in order to produce quality fruit. The Hurley formula seems to be a combination of factors. Two clones are used MV6 and G5V15. Yields are kept low, 1.4 tonnes per acre. Wild yeast fermentations are carried out, with a post maceration of 5-7 days. A variety of coopers and forests are used for their barriques, which include Sirugue, Ramon and Mercurey from Troncais and Allier forests. The 2001 is an outstanding first release and we can only anticipate more exciting wines evolving in the future.
A very impressive Pinot Noir, with strong varietal characters as well as distinct Burgundian influence. Opaque crimson colour with crimson hue. Aroma of dark cherries, anise, violets and ripe strawberries. The palate has weight, as well as generous mouth feel. Flavours of liquorice, cherry and spice emerge over a background of strawberry and stalk. Perfect balance and very good flavour wave with a very long aftertaste of spice and dark cherries.
Cel lar 3-4 years (2007-2008)
The 2001 was a dream start for the business. Four and half stars. Very rich and complex spicy plummy fruit with a savoury twist; excellent length and persistence. A singularly impressive first-up effort. Drink 2008.
James Halliday - 2005 Australian Wine Companion