Sailor Seeks Horse Pinot Noir 2020
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The Pinot Noirs we love display a delicate balance between red and dark fruits, high-toned aromatics, layered depth and verve. It’s something we hope to achieve in our Pinots and is a combination of site and sensitive winemaking. Picking dates are intrinsic to obtaining the energy we look for in our wines - pick too early and you lack the delicious component, pick too late and you lose the moreish part. It’s a cliché but it’s all about balance.Our winemaking philosophy is pretty simple. Listen to the fruit and let it guide you. We soak the fruit at ambient temperature (cold in the Huon) and then let natural yeast start the fermentation process. Once the ferments are complete we taste the wine on skins until the tannin profile is right and then press to barrel. From there we inoculate for malolactic fermentation, then leave the wine unsulphured until late-spring and add sulphur dioxide. The wine is left untouched until bottling, which varies depending on how the wine looks. Stems are used as a supportive component when they are ripe and the amount varies.
If you’re from the big island and didn’t come to Tassie in the summer of 2020 then you might presume that we suffered from the same cataclysmic weather that swept through NSW and Victoria that year. After the Huon’s bushfires of 2019, in many ways we were relieved that our summer was at the opposite end of the spectrum. It felt more like a perennial spring and then a quick segue into autumn. We never quite got the warm bit in the middle. Luckily, or unluckily depending on your viewpoint, yields were miniscule and so didn’t need a warm summer to get over the proverbial line.
As the fruit gently meandered to ripeness, the virus spread far more quickly around the world. Pickers shifted from international backpackers to local hospitality staff twiddling their thumbs, contemplating a socially-restricted restaurant scene. The state was locked down but as we were in farming we were very blessed to be able to continue our enterprise whilst so many struggled. The long, seasonal cycle of winegrowing helped iron out the daily stresses. In the new winery the concrete processing area outside wasn’t poured yet but our daughter used the free space inside as a scooter park. Between home, the vineyard, the winery and extended time with her we felt very lucky indeed.
A year of challenges for everyone but sometimes there’s a silver lining and we feel our 2020s display the characters of a cooler harvest and tiny yields. Intensity, purity and delicacy. With the cooler year we held back on using whole bunch as the fruit had naturally delicate florals. Very gentle plunging and extended time on skins post-ferment enabled the silky, supple tannins to be extracted and the full year on lees allowed the wine to find itself.