Seppelt’s Drumborg is one of Victoria’s great vineyard sites. Perhaps best known for riesling, pinot meunier thrives in the cool conditions of Henty, with this Clare Dry’s first release as the Seppelt senior winemaker. A brace of red fruits are spiced with white pepper and cypress notes, with a supple, bright and fresh palate, equal parts silky and vibrant.
Herbal notes, with an almost cypress pitch, are joined on the nose with smashed marasca cherries, macerated strawberries and dried cranberries, some celery salt and white pepper adding savoury punctuation. This drinks in the supple mould, with a gentle tug of tannin and acid giving definition, as you might expect from pinot noir, and though pinot meunier can tend to the less complex than its more noble cousin, this mounts a pretty compelling case for equal billing.
Themes of this wine
Pinot meunier is a grape mainly consigned to sparkling wine production, with still red wines relatively rare. But in Australia, though the output is modest, the grape has a meaningful place as a quality grape for red wine production (alongside sparkling wine), and with a noble history that stretches back to the 1830s.
Henty spills across the extreme south-west of Victoria, with less than 200 hectares planted to vines and a decidedly cool climate, favouring riesling, chardonnay and pinot noir. While it may not be heavily planted, the region boasts some of this country’s most exciting vineyard land, largely planted to basalt soils over clay and with bracing breezes funnelling across from the Southern Ocean bringing night-time temperatures down significantly. Many would argue that it is home to two vineyards that vie to be the country’s best producers of riesling: Crawford River and Seppelt Drumborg.