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It’s not often that I visit a vineyard that is as beautifully, organically farmed (and most unusually fully grassed around and under the vines) as Hurley Vineyard is. The grass is mowed multiple times during the year, but it is never ploughed. Vigneron Kevin Bell believes that the cut grass adds vital humus, and this combined with the bio-activity in the grass root-zone and below, creates a topsoil that is 'spongy', healthy and full of life.
Kevin named the Garamond vineyard after the font on the label of Domaine Henri Jayer wine. This legendary vigneron made some of the best Burgundies ever! The Garamond font now graces the Hurley wines. Tricia Byrnes and Kevin Bell first planted vines at this Balnarring property in 1998 with a determined intention of creating three great single vineyard pinot noirs. The philosophy revolves around respect of the environment and nurturing the vines and coaxing out fruit that not only makes great pinots, but also wines that reflect the ferruginous, volcanic and moderate maritime sites as much as possible. The wines are from three separate vineyards planted close to each other, all on the same property, but with slightly different aspects. Attention to details and fastidious obsessiveness abounds. For example, Kevin will declassify single vines before the harvest by simply tying a ribbon around them (ones that for some reason have bunches that don’t look as good as others), and then also declassify single barrels that don’t measure up. All their wines are made conscientiously and carefully. Nothing is added except SO2. They spend 20 months in barrels rather than the more common 12. They are only racked once. This is a very tidy and efficient small vineyard and cellar. There is a pervasive feeling that things here are well thought through, and that there is a relentless determination to seek perfection.
These wines are expected to arrive Friday 16 June!
Hurley Vineyard 2021 Lodestone Pinot Noir
RRP: $95 | Offer: $83!
Lodestone comprises 1.4 ha of northerly aspect. This is a powerful climat and capable of anything. It has more rock and stones in the soil than Hommage and Garamond. It has the modern Dijon clones 114, 115 and 777, and the wonderful MV6 (see under Garamond below). It was 90% planted in 1999 (clones 114, 115 and MV6). The rest was planted in 2004 (clone 777).
From Kevin Bell: The fruit was harvested by hand on 16 and 17 March 2021, fermented under the action of indigenous yeasts, basket pressed after twenty-one days in vat and bottled in November 2022 after twenty months in barrel (one quarter new). Mid-ruby. The nose is a complex mix of flowers, fruit and the forest floor. There are violets, raspberries and black cherries alongside crushed nuts and ferny undergrowth. This is a full-flavoured but medium-bodied wine that tastes of intense red and black cherries which end with length and persistence. It is tightly structured at this stage and ready to uncoil with a little time. Fine tannins and fresh acidity frame this very balanced wine. Alc/vol 13.2%. Closed with Diam cork.
Hurley Vineyard 2021 Hommage Pinot Noir
RRP: $95 | Offer: $83!
Hommage comprises 0.8 ha of north-easterly aspect. It is warm and bright, but its terroir is softened by the little corner pocket in which it sits. It is the child in-between. Bunch thinning is extensive. But the pace of growth is even, and there always seems to be time to do what needs to be done. It is 95% G5V15 (there are a few rows of MV6). Hommage was 60% planted in 1998 and 40% in 1999.
From Kevin Bell: The fruit was harvested by hand on 17 and 18 March 2021, fermented under the action of indigenous yeasts, basket pressed after twenty-one days in vat and bottled in November 2022 after twenty months in barrel (one quarter new).This is deeper ruby. Here on the nose there are black cherries with herbaceous notes of sage and thyme. The palate has complex tastes of black cherries, blood plums, subtle herbaceousness and charcuterie meats. This too is medium bodied and tightly knitted but the fruit is more squishy and the tannins are powdery making the mouthfeel sweeter and softer. It has a long finish in the palate with persistent fruit flavours and soft drying tannins. Alc/vol. 13.4%.
Hurley Vineyard 2021 Garamond Pinot Noir
RRP: $115 | Offer: $103!
Garamond comprises 1.2 ha of easterly aspect. It gets the gently warming morning sun. It is all of clone MV6, which came from pre-phylloxera stock brought to Australia from Burgundy in the very early 1800’s by that pioneer of Australian viticulture, James Busby. The Garamond vineyard was planted in 1998.
From Kevin Bell: The fruit was harvested by hand on 18 March 2021, fermented under the action of indigenous yeasts, basket pressed after twenty-one days in vat and bottled in November 2022 after twenty months in barrel (one quarter new). More like garnet. This has an intensely fragrant nose of flowers, raspberries, black cherries and the forest floor. Medium bodied but more structured than its siblings, the palate experience is one of ripe (not overripe) red cherries, currents and red plums. The tannins are silky and powdery. The finish is ultra-long and persistent, flaring at the back of the palate. This is elegantly framed, very layered and packed with detail. Alc/vol 13.3%. Closed with Diam cork.