The forthcoming release of the Helen’s Hill 2009 Pinot Noir will be the beginning of a new era for our Pinot Noir range. Those of you that know the property well will be aware that in past vintages (up to and including 2008) the Helen’s Hill Pinot Noir has been a mixture of the old block and the new block. From 2009 onwards our Helen’s Hill Pinot Noir will be made entirely from our new block vines (planted in 1996) and the old block fruit will be used to introduce a new reserve style Pinot Noir aptly named ‘Scotty’s Old Block’. So, going forward our Pinot Noir stable will consist of our Ingram Rd Pinot Noir ($18.00), Helen’s Hill Pinot Noir ($30.00) and our ‘Old Black’ Pinot Noir ($50.00).
Sitting here reviewing the Helen’s Hill 2009 Pinot Noir it is hard to believe that the vintage conditions that we faced back in March 2009 could be so very different to those that we have had to (and continue to) face at the moment. Today the vineyard is totally green, the dams are full to over flowing and we have had a constant battle with rain and humidity. It is hard to imagine that this time 2 years ago you couldn’t go outside because the heat would burn you to a crisp. These totally different vintage conditions highlight the benefits of our approach to wine making.
Everything starts in the vineyard. This is where we do all the work and being a family run business we have the passion (and cheap labour!!) to ensure that we do what is required too produce a quality outcome.
Our approach in 2009 was to maintain as much canopy (leaves) on the vines as possible to shelter the fruit from the heat, keep the water up as best as possible and run the lowest crop levels that we probably ever had. Running really low crop levels turned out to be a huge advantage as the fruit ripened early and allowed us to pick right after Black Saturday and avoid any smoke damage issues. As a side point, apart from once again having to run abnormally low yields, our approach this year is the exact opposite. We have been trimming the canopy, pluck leaves away from the fruit area of the vines and installing drains to get rid of the surface water. Who would be a farmer!
The resultant wine is truly amazing especially given the vintage conditions.
Rich fruit flavours of cherry, a real earthiness or gaminess to the mid palate,
finely balanced tannins and wonderful long clean finish. An outstanding result and a tribute to the vineyard and vineyard staff. The wine will benefit from a little more time in bottle, certainly approachable now but will gain complexity with time. Probably cellar for 3-5 years.