Wine Lists

Wines to try this International Pinot Noir Day

By Halliday Promotion

18 Aug, 2022

Eight producers tell us exactly what they love about pinot noir, and the rewards of working with the (sometimes) challenging grape.

To celebrate perhaps the best day on the wine calendar, we've put together a list of eight wines for you to try this International Pinot Noir Day.

2021 Estate Pinot Noir Yarra Valley

2021 Balgownie Estate Pinot Noir Yarra Valley

Light to medium red with clarity. Aromas of red cherry and strawberry combined with garrigue notes and nutmeg spice. Elegant mid-weight palate with excellent concentration and complexity. The marriage of red fruits, herbs and spice is carried long on the palate, framed by the fine natural tannin and acid balance. The finish is smooth and complex showing persistence at a young age and displaying all the hallmarks of benefitting from a quiet stint in the cellar.

Winemaker Tony Winspear says: I love the subtleties that good pinot noir brings to the table. It's food friendly with elegant fruit flavours and earthy, forestry nuances.

H. Can you tell us about your key pinot noir vintages?
TW. The 2015 and 2017 vintages provided perfect conditions with moderate temperatures. Well-timed rain events produced beautiful, fleshy examples with great early drinking and the ability to age gracefully. Our 2021 vintage has more depth and complexity – coming from an incredible growing season and older vine age. It shows perfect balance and is our best vintage to date.

Best enjoyed: We recommend decanting the Estate to allow the fruit time to come up in the glass and best express itself. At home I use a RIEDEL Burgundy glass so the lovely aromatics can be enjoyed to their fullest.

RRP $50 | Drink to 2029 |

2019 Contentious Character Premium Pinot Noir

2019 Contentious Character Premium Pinot Noir

A dry pinot with violet and cherry on the nose with some earthy undertones. The 2019 is supported by flavours of cherry and cranberry with medium body tannin. 

Winemaker Jeremy Wilson says: The earthy, savoury aromas and flavours that wrap around the fruit, elevate and make a wonderfully complex and nuanced wine that is always approachable and versatile. 

H. Can you tell us about your key pinot noir vintages?
Every vintage is different – 2016 was our first vintage and came up cracking. The 2018 Undercurrents Run Dry was beautifully rich, earthy and full bodied (which is still available and drinking really well). Our 2019 Premium is special. It was the pick of our best barrels from the two blocks and has no fining with complex tannins, earthiness, and fruit that will simply get better and better with time.

Best enjoyed: You can't go past pinot noir and duck (but equally as good is roast pork – the finely spun acidity and tannin structure cut through the fat). I adore the RIEDEL pinot noir glasses to elevate the aromas and flavours.

RRP $45 | Drink to 2029 |

2021 Tribute Series “Lady Celia” Pinot

2021 Coombe Tribute Series Lady Celia Pinot Noir

A refined and meticulously structured pinot noir. Seductive aromatics of fresh cranberries, sour cherry and red plum are complemented by subtle notes of fresh toffee and timber spice. Sitting within a complex and velvet tannin palate, the fruit is poised and composed. A soft rounded mouthfeel finishes this elegant wine. 

Winemaker Travis Bush says: We love the versatility of the pinot noir grape. From earthy, mushroom broth and graphite notes of our Estate Pinot Noir to the pretty, elegant complexity of our 2021 Tribute Lady Celia Pinot Noir.

H. Can you tell us about your key pinot noir vintages?
TB. Pinot noir is one of the more challenging grapes. For us 2010, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021 were all fantastic vintages for pinot noir. The 2021 Estate and Tribute Lady Celia Pinot Noir are available via our online store.

Best enjoyed: The Lady Celia Pinot Noir is best served with pork belly at our Coombe restaurant.

RRP $65 | Drink to 2028 |

Hungerford Hill Tumbarumba Pinot Noir 2021

2021 Hungerford Hill Tumbarumba Pinot Noir

Well suited to the high altitude and cool Tumbarumba region, part of the Snowy Mountains. Fragrant aromas of red cherry, spice and forest herbs follow to a silky palate. The 2021 vintage was a cool one, resulting in fragrant and spicy pinot noir with elegance and finesse.

Winemaker Bryan Currie says: It’s a seductive grape that pulls you in. In its purest expression it shows complex flavours that are unique to this grape variety.

H. Can you tell us about your key pinot noir vintages?
BC. The Hungerford Hill Pinot Noir is from Tumbarumba, the best vintages we have experienced are the 2018 and the current 2021. 

Best enjoyed: Decanted, and then poured into a large Burgundy glass. Best served on its own or alongside our favourite – star anise duck with orange. 

RRP $45 | Drink to 2035 |

2020 Medhurst Estate Pinot Noir

2020 Medhurst Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir

Brilliant appearance with crimson/purple hues. The cool season brings an ethereal nose of dark fruits and spice, the palate a supple and fine Pinot Noir expression of pure fruit and ripe tannins. The 2020 season has delivered us a wine of incredible balance and charm. A detailed and expressive wine that will mature gracefully over the next 5–8 years.

Winemaker Simon Steele says: It’s the best variety to reflect the site where it's grown, and in turn, it allows for the making of delicious, complex wines we all love.

H. Can you tell us about your key pinot noir vintages?
SS. We only produce our Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir when the quality is exceptionally high, so from 2010–2021 (other than 2014) we have been very happy with the wines and have bottled an exceptional wine each year. To pick one I would say the 2017 is the favourite.

Best enjoyed: We suggest a Burgundy wine glass, and serve the pinot at 18 degrees. Pair the 2020 with Cuisse de Canard – confit duck leg with aromatic spices, roasted kipfler potatoes, black garlic, wild mushrooms and thyme jus.

RRP $55 | Drink to 2031 |

Mount Pleasant Old Hill Pinot Noir 2021

2021 Mount Pleasant Old Hill Pinot Noir

Red berries, licorice and spice, some cherries and potpourri notes. Medium bodied, fresh fruits of the forest with a lovely fine grained tannin structure, beautiful balanced acidity and brilliant length.

Winemaker Adrian Sparks says: Our pinot noir vineyard is the oldest in Australia, planted by Maurice O’Shea in 1921. It's an honour to make wine from such a place of historical significance, one which has helped shape the plantings of pinot noir across Australia – through the MV6 clone which was isolated from this block.

H. Can you tell us about your key pinot noir vintages?
AS. We only produce this wine in years that enhance this fantastic block, 2021 being one of those, and the vineyard celebrated 100 years since planting. The 2014 and 2017 vintages were another two of these in the last 10 years that are emphatic wines of place. These wines are available in small amounts for our members.

Best enjoyed: Decanted for a short period then served in classic Burgundy glassware. I would suggest drinking this with friends and family with a selection of charcuterie.

RRP $55 | Drink to 2046 |

2016 Scotchmans Hill Cornelius Armitage Vineyard Pinot Noir

2016 Scotchmans Hill Cornelius Armitage Vineyard Pinot Noir

Complex bouquet of floral notes, lifted plum and strawberry fruits. There are earthy forest floor scents coupled with spice and oak. The palate displays excellent tannin balance and structure, with complex flavours of red fruits with a touch of cherry, earthy notes and spicy oak finish. This has a long, elegant palate which just keeps on giving.

Winemakers Robin Brockett and Marcus Holt say: Although it is challenging to get the best from pinot noir, the rewards are worth the effort. It is the ballerina of the grape world. When the stars align it has power yet elegance and displays personality and individuality.

H. Can you tell us about your key pinot noir vintages?
RB & MH. Our 1992 was an unbelievable wine, which put Scotchmans Hill on the map as a serious pinot noir producer. It was a wine before it’s time. Our current single vineyard is the 2016 Cornelius Armitage Vineyard Pinot Noir (receiving 97 points from Halliday Wine Companion), another amazing wine that is available now. And 2016 was a great growing season that produced this sublime wine.

Best enjoyed: With family and friends – there's nothing better than enjoying wine in happy joyous surroundings. This wine will go perfectly with a rich salmon fillet served with plenty of winter root vegetables. Make sure you're drinking from pinot noir glassware.

RRP $78 | Drink to 2030 |

2020 Saltwater River Single Site Pinot Noir

2020 Small Island Wines Saltwater River Single Site Pinot Noir

The new release 2020 takes this site to a whole new level, earthy, floral and incredibly complex. This wine is rapidly creating a cult following and is selling out fast.

Winemaker James Broinowski says: Saltwater River Vineyard on the Tasman Peninsula is cold and dry. The vines struggle and produce concentrated tiny bunches packed full of flavour. This vineyard is truly unique and the wines speak for themselves. One to snap up if you can.

H. Can you tell us about your key pinot noir vintages?
JB. Down in Saltwater River 2018 was a powerhouse and the wines haven’t even begun to show their full potential. The 2019 was one of my favourites, displaying earthy richness and elegance. The 2020 took that power of 2018 but balanced it with elegance and structure like the 2019. I have good reason to believe the 2021 release will be a bit special as we are about to release a couple of reserve wines for the first time! Sign up to our mailing list as these will be gone in an instant. 

Best enjoyed: The best way to enjoy this wine is with friends, cheese and a dog. What could be better?

RRP $49 | Drink to 2026 |

Top image credit: Wine Australia.