Two-Blocks Pinot Noir: Winemaker's Notes
VARIETY: PINOR NOIR
REGION: MOUNT GAMBIER
WINE STYLE: SAVOURY, ELEGANT & EARTHY
WINEMAKER: LUKE TOCACIU
Flavour profile of Two-Blocks Pinot Noir
Two-Blocks Pinot Noir is a lighter red in a savoury style, with juicy red berry fruit, red cherries and strawberry up front, and some spice and pencil shavings flavours from French oak barrels.
Winemaker Luke Tocaciu says, “The palate is where you can really tell that it's a Pinot Noir - it’s silky smooth, with not a lot of tannins compared to a Shiraz or Cabernet. There is a savoury element to the wine, with dark fruit and cherry, finished off with a nice little bit of spice that comes from the cool climate of Mount Gambier and whole-bunch fermentation.
Savoury mid-palate is probably the defining characteristic of Mount Gambier at the moment and, in my opinion, is an exceptional quality, one that I love in Pinot. If we grew Pinot in Coonawarra, we'd probably obtain a similar richness, but the tannin structure would be different. It would be more of a dry red wine style. Whereas Mount Gambier does not confuse the drinker, it walks, talks and looks like Pinot.
Two Blocks Pinot Noir fits into the light red spectrum, which is missing from the Coonawarra and Wrattonbully Two-Blocks wines. It is a lunchtime, easy drinking, lighter style red at 12.5% alcohol, which is an increasingly popular category at the moment.
Mount Gambier Pinot is a little heavier than what you’d typically get from Tasmania, or New Zealand where a lot of Pinot comes from. It’s silky smooth, quite savoury and just delicious.”
Two-Blocks Pinot Noir winemaking process
The Two-Blocks Pinot was made in two separate batches. The first parcel of D5V12 was cold-soaked; it was crushed and sat on skins without adding any yeast, holding it cold for three or four days to extract more flavour out of the berries. While the berries are still intact, they start to ferment inside, a process called carbonic fermentation, which gives a strawberry character to the wine.
The other parcel, MV6, was whole-bunch fermented in a small open fermenter, keeping some stalks in the wine. Normally you would remove all the stalks from the ferment, but a little whole bunch fermentation is quite common with Pinot. The stalk character adds to the savoury elements of the wine and adds to it’s unique tannin structure.
The two parcels marry together floral and elegant notes from the D5V12, and body, flavour and tannins from the whole-bunch fermentation of the MV6. The Pinot was then barrel-aged in French oak barrels (20% new, 80% old), this provides additional savoury layers to the wine.
The aroma has a lifted perfume of cherry fruit and raspberry. This Pinot is a medium bodied, elegant example of what the cool climate of the Mount Gambier region can produce. The palate is subtly earthy with a fine tannin structure and hint of savoury spice on the finish.
Two clones of Pinot Noir, MV6 and D5V12 were picked from the sandy, volcanic soils of Mount Gambier. It was fermented in two batches, one whole bunch and one cold soaked prior to fermentation. It was then transferred to oak for 16 months, 20% new French.
Questions for the winemaker
Luke, what is so good about Two Blocks Pinot that made you want to release it?
“Two Blocks Pinot Noir is an interesting wine. It's a heavier, full-bodied style of Pinot, and looks darker than what you'd expect from a Pinot. But when you taste it, it has layers of fruit and texture, silky tannins with a hint of spice. Whenever I tasted it in barrels, I thought, Wow, this is really interesting.
Pinot also has a very unique terroir expression of where it's grown and how it's grown. Each year is different with Pinot, whereas with Cabernet there is a little more consistency. With Pinot you can go from a very cool year, making an almost Rosé-like Pinot, to a warmer year (like 2019), where you get a more full-bodied and textured wine.
The Two-Blocks Pinot is a fantastic wine - probably the one that I grab off the winery shelf most often, when there’s half a bottle left and take home.
How would the Two-Blocks Pinot sit next to Méthode Cab Nouveau?
“Two-Blocks Pinot is more full-bodied than the Cab Nouveau. Méthode Cab Nouveau is more on the heavy Rosé spectrum. I'd say the Pinot is a step up from the Nouveau in heaviness and weight of the wine, but definitely smooth and just as delicious as the Cab Nouveau.”
How does the 2019 vintage compare to previous Patrick of Coonawarra vintages of Pinot Noir?
“The 2019 vintage is quite similar to the 2016 Pinot, with more body to it and a warmer year. The 2014 Pinot was a lighter year. I really liked the 2014 but it is a completely different style. 2019 will age better, the body and texture will develop well over the next few years. It is ready to drink now but will certainly last five to 10 years longer.”
Read more about the limited edition Two-Blocks Pinot Noir in Part 1 of our blog post here, and purchase here.