It’s three years now since Nick Farr unveiled Irrewarra to the world. A new canvas and a different palette to work with out there in the Western District, somewhere between Geelong and Henty but distinct from both. The damp-earth aspect to the wines, the unique fruit spectrum and the super-cool acid profile were enticing ingredients to this master of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
And Irrewarra has delivered. The project named for an Aboriginal term meaning “long spear throw” has hit the mark every time. The Chardonnay – a year younger than its sibling – has irresistible line and drive allied to flint-mineral notes, setting it up beautifully as the wine continues to grow. The Pinot Noir flaunts its contradictions of precision and wildness with effortless grace.
As well as being a worthy addition to the Farr family of wines, these add another subtle and alluring shade to the complex picture of great Australian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Irrewarra is surrounded by inland lakes and volcanic plains. It’s a diverse and beautiful landscape that captures plenty of rainfall throughout the year. The Western plains are exposed to the elements, which contributes to the site’s mystique. The dry-grown vineyard sits at the top of the slope facing Salt Lake and the Calvert Lough to the north. The soils across the slope are a mixture of grey sandy clay loams at the south end, to dark brown loams with fragments of buckshot and quartz gravels towards the north – all with underlying brown to yellow clays. Overall the soils remain very moist throughout the year thanks to the clay base and annual rainfall of 885mm. Harvest comes in April after a steady, drawn-out growing season, resulting in great fruit expression and a deceptively long, mineral palate.
2018 Irrewarra Chardonnay RRP $66
A fair bit of spicy vanilla oak over lean limey fruit. There’s tang and smoke, vanilla, crème brûlée richness, flinty texture, and a zippy finish of fine length. Really needs some time to come together, but high quality here. 92+ points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
2017 Irrewarra Pinot Noir RRP $66
100% destemmed, as always. A complex and compelling nose features poached rhubarb, damp earth, Indian spices and a herbal/green peppercorn note beneath crushed rose petals, raspberry and cranberry. Superb suede tannin accompanies this on the palate, where sour cherry and cream chime in before a crunchy acid kick on the long, red berry-inflected, peppery finish. Its quality really shines on the gliding convergence of acidity, tannin, fruit and spice as the wine goes down. Very good, and best rendition of this Pinot Noir so far. – Ed Merrison, CellarHand