Helen's Hill Pinot NoirI am often asked why we call the Helen’s Hill Pinot Noir “Long Walk”. The reasoning is quite simple. Most of the fruit (approximately 70%) is taken from our main Pinot Noir block which is around 8.5 hectares in total size and consists of 70 rows each 532 metres in length. So if you go for a stroll through the main Pinot Noir block you can cover over 35 kilometers!! Hence the name “Long Walk” (on numerous occasions in the middle of winter when you are pruning the vines then a couple of other words are often used but they are definitely inappropriate to use off farm).

By way of preamble, Pinot Noir is one of the oldest known grape varieties in the world. DNA research done by the French suggest that Pinot Noir is the closest variety to the original vines that were around a couple of million years ago. Their research suggests that the Pinot Noir variety is only 2-3 evolutions away from the original wild vines that existed in the days of the dinosaur. By way of contrast, Cabernet Sauvignon, despite its prominence in the industry, is a relatively new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc during the 17th century in southwestern France.

It is therefore little wonder that there are so many different “clones” of Pinot Noir. Nature has had a long time to slightly alter the flavour and characteristics of the variety such that there are many different types of Pinot Noir. Same as why there are different types of apples.

Here at Helen’s Hill we are one of the few growers in the Yarra Valley that have 6 different clones of Pinot. MV6 is the major clone that is grown (along with most other growers) but we also have clone 114, 115, 777, D4V2 (which originated from Pommard, France and Abel).

The 2013 Helen’s Hill Pinot Noir combines the backbone MV6 and small amounts of 114, 115 and our newest addition D4V2. All of these clones add to the complexity and structure of the wine. It is the first year that we have added D4V2 and I am pretty happy with the result. The vintage itself was an extremely good vintage, in my opinion better than 2010 and 2012. Not quite as good as 2008 but certainly up there.

At this point the wine is a little young to make to much judgement having just been bottled some 8 weeks ago but everything is starting to come together. The masculine structure of the new addition is plainly obvious and adds a new degree of structure and power to the wine. Great colour, the nose is a little closed at present and the palate is also a little short but all the ingredients are there. Just needs a little time.

Strongly recommend letting this bad boy sit in the rack for another 5-6 months and then have a crack. It will be well worth the wait. If you must drink now, let is sit in an open glass for a good 20-30 minutes before drinking.