Wednesday, September 8, 2010


- Yarra Valley, VIC
- $26-$39
- Screwcap
- 13.0%alc

The in form De Bortoli produced two flawless examples of cheap pinot noir under their Windy Peak and Gulf Station labels from 2008, so it's been with great expectation I've awaited the release of their premier pinots from that same vintage.

Stylishly presented and utterly convincing, De Bortoli's 2008 Estate reveals a lightish yet gloriously direct and fragrant nose of raspberries and cherries lifted by spicy, savoury notes of earth and undergrowth, with a backing influence of cedar oak showing winemaking polish. Dry and savoury, its long, distinctly light-weight palate unravels compacted small berry and dry earth flavours that grow with an expansive fistful of bony tannins, leaving the mouth with suggestions of spicy sour-edged fruit, pencil shavings-like oak and a hint of forest floor. Its outstanding length, dryness, shape and structure thoroughly exceed the expectations of its modest price, while it should fill out beautifully with careful cellaring.

ü+! If De Bortoli experience more vintages like 2008 they could re-write the book on Australian pinot noir, in terms of affordability and scale of production. Drink to 2017.
94 points


  1. In form. I wish you would develop your own style rather than mimicking Oliver. Seems a shame as you obviously have ability and perhaps a suggestion of personality submerged etc etc

  2. Thanks GW. Your wise feedback is always appreciated on this website in all its forms. As usual, you've inspired much thought in my mind.

    Firstly, in regards to 'personality submerged', when I started this blog my intentions were, I guess;
    1. to cram in another opinion on Australian wines into the already crowded blogosphere
    2. purely promote Australian wines (without writing glowing appraisals for everything)
    3: and if I'm lucky, make people laugh through the establishment of Oz Wine Toons. Because I feel many people are taking wine too seriously these days and need to remember why they started drinking the stuff in the first place; because it's fun!
    At no point did I ever intend on projecting my personality onto the interweb, I'm just not into that, however, the more I get into this blogger thing, the more I see it's inevitable your personality's bound to get out. That's why I try not to get too personal in my tasting notes, it takes up space, and I'm basically trying to discuss the wine only, not me. As far as wine bloggers go I'm very backwards really (no twitter account is just the tip of the iceberg)

    Having said this I don't have anything against getting to know people personally, it's just that I go for the old fashioned 'face to face' style.

    I'd be lying if I said Oliver wasn't a big influence on me taking down tasting notes on wine in the first place. In fact it was one of his Wine Annuals which really brought me deeper into wine, which, unfortunately for me, is probably reflected in my tasting notes today. I certainly don't purposely attempt to emulate Oliver in any way though. My writing down of notes has evolved over the years to get to the unfortunate point where it is at today, but it's still evolving I hope. Basically, as I drink wine I write down what comes into my mind how it comes into my mind. I'm going to have to fix that I think...

    For interest, here's a (brief as possible) rundown of how I construct a tasting note for Australian Wine Journal. Any feedback on possible alterations to these methods would be highly appreciated.

    Firstly, I want my note to reflect how I experience consuming a single mouthful of wine, from appearance (if relevant), to nose, to palate, but I want it to reflect it within the same time bracket of its duration, which means I generally want my tasting notes to read about as long as the physical sensation of wine consumption lasts, which, in reality, is counted in seconds. That's one reason why I want my tasting notes to be relatively brief, without being too brief, yet also detailed without being too detailed.

    In this short space I also want my note to have a natural 'flow' to it (not sure how successful I've been :( ), just as wine flows. This means I generally use a lot of linking words such as 'and', 'with' and loads of commas.

    I also want my notes to have an order to them just as the experience of drinking wine is felt in a certain order. This means I tend to order my notes in a sort of structured fashion, which I try to make emulate the impressions felt in my mouth in the order in which I feel them; i.e. from entry/impression, weight, flavour, structure and finally finish/aftertaste, or something along those lines.

    Also, I try to restrict my notes to 2 or 3 sentences (occasionally more), to get this immediate rush of wine descriptors across, which causes me to use many adjectives and even combine them a fair bit. I've also always used the same little notebooks for taking notes forever, and my rule of thumb has been never to exceed one page. Personally, I try not to waffle on too much.

    Finally, as I said before, my tasting notes, like all things Chris Plummer and wine, are in evolution. And I think you might've just kick started the evolution GW. However, I'm not sure I intend of putting much more of 'myself' into notes. I'd prefer to just talk about the wine. Let's see how we go....

  3. p.s. sorry about the duration of the reply. I actually had to edit down a fair bit because blogger said the original was too big.

    Thanks again GW, because constructive criticism is usually the best kind.

  4. Sorry. The 'suggestion of personality submerged' was just more a piss take on the writing the style of the writing etc. etc.

    With reference to your points.
    1. Doing well.
    2. Doing well
    3: Probably doing well, mainly.

    I'm not meaning to be churlish or condescending etc. All of this is done in peoples (often limited) spare time and (mainly) for the love of don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about 'personality' in the context of telling us more about yourself or your cat or your house or what music you like, just to develop more of your own style as a 'writer', rather than doing Oliver. You do what you do really well mind you - so well you might not be able to tell the two apart - which is sort of my point :)


  5. No, no, please don't apologise GW. It's feedback like this that betters people, so long as they can handle it with dignity (which is why I appreciate the writers who comment on both wines they do and don't like).

    Clearly I was taking your 'personality submerged' comment in the wrong context, which is another reason I prefer the old fashioned way of communicating..... ;)

    You've certainly brought up some valid points though, and as I said, I am now looking at evolving my writing style, whilst staying as true as possible to the parameters I've outlined above. The evolution won't happen overnight, but it will happen. Just gimme a couple of years.... ;)

    Unfortunately for them, Crabtree have just become the first winery subject to the evolution....

    Chris P