The 2018 Punt Road Pinot Noir shows the best nature of the 2018 vintage in that it is bright and crunchy with transparent fruit and clean lines. Whilst the vintage was warm and clear, it never got too hot and cold nights ensured we maintained solid natural acidity. I am really pleased that in a warmer year, through attention to detail in the vineyard, we were able to maintain freshness and harvest our best blocks when they were ripe and still bright.
There is a higher proportion of Napoleone Vineyard fruit in the 2018 than the 2017. The Old Beenak Road portion of the wine would be just on 10%, but it brings spice and a little peacock’s tail to the finish, hallmarks of Upper Yarra. The dominant Napoleone presence is an indicator that we are learning how to manage our old blocks better – all of Blocks 1, 7 and 12 made it in this year, which hasn’t happened before. The young vineyard Block 15 Clone 115 (planted 2007) also made it in, as this block continues to go from strength to strength as the root systems consolidate. We are also taking a more nuanced winemaking approach to the old blocks. We have toned back the whole bunch proportion in the ferments, and kept 100% whole bunch ferments separate until the press. The oak mix is also subtly evolving each year, we have whittled ourselves down to three coopers, and now work more on seasoning, grain and toast within that matrix. Puncheons are increasing their presence in the selection year on year.
Due to the sound, rude health of the fruit this year, we were able to complete 100% natural primary and malolactic fermentation. The wine was fermented in a combination of 5-tonne and 1-tonne open fermenters, three day cold soaks, and ferment temperatures between 21 and 27 degrees. The batches were pumped over twice per day through fermentation, and plunged/stomped when they were roaring in the middle. In barrel, we were able to leave the wine on malo lees throughout the winter and spring unsulphured. The wine was racked to tank in early December, and bottled in January with no finings. - Tim Shand, Punt Road