Tuesday, May 17, 2011


- Adelaide Hills, SA
- $40-$53
- Screwcap
- 14.5%alc

For a number of reasons, Ashton Hills is a winery I hold a serious amount of respect for. One of my favourite little touches is Ashton Hills' informative label texts, which actually change every vintage. The 2009 Estate Pinot Noir reads; 'Overall Pinot quality in 2009 was so good that all 18 of our clones (selections), instead of the usual handful, made the grade for this Estate wine. One third of the grapes were uncrushed, adding to the wine's complexity, structure and interest.'

Distinctly darkly coloured by Ashton Hills standards, the 2009 Estate essentially matches its appearance with a dark fruited, somewhat raisiny and rather ripe fragrance scented with herbs/menthol and suggestions of stewed pinot fruit character. Its aroma lacks lift, perfume and elegance, but perhaps most disappointing for the style, is a hint of alcoholic warmth that pokes through. The palate regains some credibility thanks to the typically silky, supple qualities associated with Ashton Hills pinot noir, as clever winemaking has imparted reasonable balance and a degree of elegance, but the 2009 remains much riper and conversely darker fruited than the label's better wines. A herbal note emerges in its finish, contrasting the riper front palate, but regrettably, there's also a slightly rough-edged feel emanating through some fairly grippy tannins.

X As a pinot noir I'm not totally convinced by this, which is a feeling I don't usually associate with Ashton Hills. Unfortunately, the 2009 Estate is the type of pinot I'd be happy paying $20-$25 for. Drink to 2014.
89 points


  1. Bugger. Kinda surprising bugger. Hey and sent you an email to your new address with no response! This is what happens when you go crazy and get a special new email... :)

  2. Hey, hey - I just responded! I'm new to this! ;) And I think that should've been observant, not observative :)

  3. sounds like the pinot god wasn't quite smiling this time

  4. Indeed, the Pinot God isn't a guy you wanna get into the bad books with :)

    On a brighter note a mate had a bottle of Ashton Hills' 2010 Piccadilly Pinot Noir last night, which he's already rung me about twice, such was his delight with the product. Fortunately, he's supposed to be bringing a bottle around tonight, to end the speculation. My fingers are crossed....

  5. This sounds exactly like how I felt about the 09 Piccadilly. Just couldn't get past the heat. Do you know if they are onto this at the cellar door now? I've been meaning to get back up there.

  6. Not sure if it's on at the cellar door at the moment but I imagine it would be. A few Cellarbrations stores have picked up allocations of this, the 09 Reserve and the 10 Piccadilly already, so they're definitely out there.

    By the way, I wasn't as excited about the 10 Piccadilly (14%alc for interest) as my mate was, but it was nowhere near as disappointing as the 09 Estate. Cellar door price ($28-$30?) for the Piccadilly would be much more acceptable than the $36 we paid for it at a retailer.

    I'm always meaning to get back up to Ashton Hills, it's one of my absolute favourite little cellar doors. :)

    Chris P