Pinot Noir – 2024 YGOW Awards Feature

Wines Of Now
5 June 2024. Words by YGOW.

Around 30 years ago, pinot noir was still a newcomer in Australia, garnering attention as the new kid on the block. Shiraz enthusiasts were initially sceptical, often using simple pinot expressions to underscore shiraz’s superiority. This perspective missed the mark, as pinot noir has now claimed its rightful place in the Australian wine scene. Today, even the most ardent shiraz supporters have made room for pinot, which has become a leading variety in cooler regions. With increased vine age, better clones, new vineyards, and improved winemaking and site understanding, contemporary producers are crafting pinot noir that rivals the world’s best.

In a relatively short span, pinot noir has become a significant player in Australian wine, though its volume doesn’t yet threaten shiraz or cabernet sauvignon. Interestingly, more merlot is planted than pinot, but the latter’s quality has soared across various regions. Pinot noir has spearheaded a cool climate revolution, contributing to the development of regions such as Tasmania, the Mornington Peninsula, the Yarra Valley, Macedon, and the Adelaide Hills as premier wine regions.

There is no doubt that pinot noir has not only firmly entrenched itself in the Australian wine drinking psyche, but it is also starting to build distinct regional and sub-regional identities guided by the hands of confident makers, such as the the 2024 YGOW Awards Top 50, which features Marco Lubiana, Aunt Alice, Jean Bouteille, Tillie J, Mac Forbes, Port Phillip Estate, J & S Fielke, Port Phillip Estate, Portsea Estate, XO Wine Co., Turon, Scanlon and Utzinger Wines.

2023 Aunt Alice ‘Night Sky’ Pinot Noir, Tamar Valley, Tasmania $50 RRP

Deep and pretty red florals are enchanting from the get go, followed by wild strawberry, raspberry, and cranberry. Very inviting and gratifying aromas draw you to the palate which is medium bodied and vibrant. Ripe red rose, cranberry, raspberry and brown spice glide through the palate with aplomb. It’s delicately structured with gentle integrated tannins and red-fruit laced acidity bringing a fresh close.

2022 Marco Lubiana ‘Huon & Derwent’ Pinot Noir, Tasmania $60 RRP

Bursts of red cherry and ripe red florals lead the aromas, followed by macerated strawberry, cranberry and nutmeg spice. It’s pretty while being deep set and complex aromatically. The medium bodied palate follows suit. It’s intense and sophisticated. Red rose, morello cherry, strawberry and cranberry drape across the palate before ample chalky tannins hold sway along with red-fruited acidity. Brown spice permeated the mouth perfume along with a long detailed finish.

2023 Tillie J Wines Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley $50 RRP

Bright and vivid aromas of raspberry coulis, wild strawberry, strawberry cream lolly and a whisper of cinnamon.. Fresh, lifted and bright. The palate is light-to-medium bodied, led by raspberry, strawberry. Fine chalky tannins provide a frame for these bright red fruits to carry through to a fresh red-fruit laced finish.

2023 Jean Bouteille ‘Bastion’ Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills $80 RRP

Gentle aromas of dark cherry, pepper spice, and earth with a funky nuance beneath. A good burst of intensity to the palate with notes akin to the nose. The palate is where the bunchy and twiggy notes sing, commanding the palate and wrapping around the cherry and earth notes. A very structural feel. High chalky tannins assert themselves on the fruit and earth, bringing things to a sappy and slightly bitter close.

2023 XO Wine Co. Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills

Open knit aromas with an ashy, smoky appeal straight off. This is followed by lifted, sappy and stalky notes melding with red cherry, red currant and decaying leaves. The palate is medium bodied and packed with flavour – spiced red cherry, red florals, raspberry and wild strawberry are encased in cocoa powder laced tannins and persistent red-fruited acidity. This is an autumnal, smoky, bunchy, and slightly wild iteration.

2023 Turon Estate Pinot Noir, Lenswood, Adelaide Hills $50 RRP

Lovely elegant and poised aromas of quality dark cherry, cranberry, tilled earth and, deep red florals, and baking spices. This is very precise and detailed with lovely complexity and verve.. The palate is sappy and vivid, with dark cherry, earth, subtle stalkiness, and cranberry skin. The tannins are fine and laced with cocoa-nib bitterness, along with cleansing acidity bringing a long, pleasant and balanced finish.

2022 J & S Fielke Piccadilly Valley Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills $40 RRP

Maraschino cherry melds with twiggy, bunchy notes straight off, followed by tangy red plum-skin, red florals, and subtle cherry cola thereafter. Lovely lift and complexity here. The palate is lifted and pure, gliding through the palate with red cherry skin and flesh, red rose, and subtle cranberry. A good lick of chalky tannins assert themselves on the fruit, pairing with cherry-laced acidity to a fresh and elegant close.

2023 Musical Folk ‘Spring’ Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley $32 RRP

Macerated plum, strawberry, red cherry, raspberry, brown spices and a glimmer of cranberry skin. The aromas are bright and playful suggesting an eminently drinkable palate. This is confirmed with an ultra bright, hightoned, and light bodied wine. Bright maraschino cherry, unripe red plum, wild raspberry. The finish is bright, pure-fruited and thirst-slaking, with a chalky line of tannin to finish.

2022 Portsea Estate ‘Portsea Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula $55 RRP

Lovely vibrant aromas of strawberry, wild raspberry, and cranberry, with a glimmer of game meat beneath. Good intensity and fruit power on display through the palate – ripe strawberry, raspberry, and red floral are swept up by integrated, fine, chalky tannins. Lovely lift and verve here, with bright and fresh red-fruit appeal.

2022 Mac Forbes Gembrook ‘Village’ Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley Yarra Valley RRP $65

Pure red cherry, raspberry, wild strawberry and baking spices. Bright, fresh and fragrant. The palate is medium bodied, with notes mirroring the nose. Firm chalky tannins hold sway, compressing the fruit and framing the bright red fruit to a fresh finish.

2023 Port Phillip Estate ‘Balnarring’ Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula $44 RRP

Wild raspberry, macerated strawberry, subtle pepper spice and brown spice are lifted and bright. The palate is lithe and detailed, with the same bright red profile. A good assertive frame of tannin commands the mouth and makes for a structural and compact close.

2022 Utzinger Wines ‘Black label Estate Series’ Pinot Noir, Tasmania $55 RRP

Cranberry, wild strawberry, bright raspberry, and baking spices on the nose, followed by pretty red florals. Lovely complexity here, with the fruit and spice notes melding beautifully. The palate is medium bodied and vivid – red rose, morello cherry, and macerated strawberry make way for cinnamon and nutmeg. A good vein of chalky tannin takes command on the finish along with a floral mouth perfume and bright acidity to a long close.


2022 Scanlon ‘Estate’ Pinot Noir, Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills $50 RRP

Open and autumnal aromas here. Decaying leaves, ripe cherry, wild raspberry, dried cranberry, forest floor, and salted plum. Lovely depth and complexity to the aromas which are beguiling and packed with interest. The palate is textured and medium bodied with a good burst of flavour. Dark cherry, bunchy spice, earth, subtle twiggy spice. Assertive chalky tannins provide frame and carry for fruit and autumnal note, to a poised and classy close. A wonderful example.


2022 Scanlon ‘JMS’ Pinot Noir, Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills $75 RRP

Deep and restrained aromas here. Dark spiced cherry, warm earth, subtle tomato leaf, autumn leaves and forest floor. Classy and poised. Lovely, gratifying ripeness to the palate. Red plum, ripe dark cherry, bunchy spice. This a brooding and deep iteration, though with good complexity and details. The finish is laced with bunch spice and lifted cherry, with firm tannins keeping it in line.

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