Wines of the Month

March 2022 Releases: Murdoch Hill The Phaeton 2020 Pinot Noir $48 & Sidewood Estate 2019 Abel Pinot Noir $45

March 2022

March 2022 Releases: Murdoch Hill The Phaeton 2020 Pinot Noir $48 & Sidewood Estate 2019 Abel Pinot Noir $45

Murdoch Hill The Phaeton 2020 Pinot Noir $48

The Phaeton is a blend of fruit from two vineyards in the Piccadilly Valley. The first site lies at 520 meters altitude outside the town of Piccadilly below Mount Lofty. Its easterly aspect provides Downer with delicate, fine fruit with pretty aromatics and pure, red-fruited notes. The second vineyard, also with an easterly aspect but in Ashton, sits on a steep slope at 560 meters on rather shallow sandstone and hard soils. Natural yields are extremely low, providing fruit with structure and persistence. The altitude and aspect of both sites provide Pinot-friendly, elongated ripening conditions. Downer handled each parcel separately, both with a portion of whole berries and whole bunches (30%). The wine was raised in mostly French oak puncheons and barrique (approximately 10% new) for nine months, then bottled without fining or filtration. Where the 2019 was a deeply fruited, enveloping expression of Downers vineyards, the 2020 brings supple texture and elegance to the fore. The aromas are pure and lifted with scents of ripe cherry, warmed earth and strawberry sherbet. It then turns a shade darker, as black cherry, plum and charcuterie glides serenely across the palate. A gently creamy mouth-feel is woven with energy. With each passing vintage, Michael Downers Pinots become more sophisticated and expressive. All the woody herbal and spice elements of the region and variety, with a unique nub of lifted fragrance and sweet cherry right in the core of the palate, in a style that has developed over the years with a waft of wood smoke. All of this makes for a mighty fine expression. 95 points, Tony Love, Halliday Wine Companion

Sidewood Estate 2019 Abel Pinot Noir $45

Sidewood’s third release of our Abel aka ‘Gumboot’ Pinot Noir clone, hand picked from South Australia’s first plantings of the mythical Abel clone vines. Legend holds that the Abel clone first departed the hallowed vineyards of Burgundy by way of a traveling gumboot. Making its way to New Zealand in 1974 and now to the Adelaide Hills. The ‘Gumboot Smuggler’ was caught by a NZ Customs’ officer, Malcolm Abel who incidentally was the first to graft the mythical cutting in his own vineyard. The grapes were wild yeast fermented in small batches, 30% whole-bunch, partial whole-berry and 100% matured in older French oak barrels for 10 months. Aromas of dark cherry, Davidson plum and pine forest floor, the palate combines flavours of wild berries and allspice with seamless tannins and a fine complex finish.


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