So I had to start re-writing this blog post, because the first version was, I hate to say it, complete wank! Not that I don’t believe in what I had written, I do. But I was banging on about ethereal, perfumed Pinots that inspire me and how I think that Pinot captures beauty and pulls at your emotions. All of it true, but even as I wrote it (and particularly as I re-read it) my internal bullshit detector was going off louder than that toothless, 65 year old granny I saw on the tele last month while I was watching the Eagles/Collingwood game. Not that I want to typecast, but she did look pretty fetching in black and white!
I love Pinot and always have - I moved to Victoria straight out of Uni to make Pinot, but it’s not the full story. I hadn’t made Pinot for 12 years since then and I missed it. Don’t get me wrong, I love Margaret River and I love Cabernet, but I really wanted to play with Pinot again. Just as importantly, it gave Harrie and I an excuse to head back to the Yarra....where it all started for us. You know the story - girl works at the pub, boy spends too much time at the pub, boy and girl bond over a mutual disbelief that Wendall Sailor is still being selected for the Wallabies!
That’s why it started, but what I’ve found more interesting is what I had forgotten and why I want this project to continue. It’s a weird process, making wine at arms length in another state. It’s made significantly easier by the old friends we’ve partnered up with - passionate wine people that we trust completely. The opportunity to collaborate is something that isn’t available on a daily basis with our other Heretic Wines and I’d forgotten how rewarding it is. It’s great to remember how much there is to learn in this caper, and surrounding yourself with people to learn from is an important part in the success of any venture. Like the saying goes ‘if you’re the smartest person in the room....you’re in the wrong room!’
I can’t wait to keep learning from my friends, whether it’s discussing tannin extraction during ferment rounds, or solving the worlds problems over bottles of wine at dinner. People and conversation is, ultimately, the most rewarding part of being involved in this industry and it’s nice to be reminded of that from time to time. For the record, I’ve included the original blog post below - feel free to let me know how much of a ponce I really am!
Pinot......I’ve been thinking about it, drinking it, chasing it and making it for half my life and I still can’t pin it down. If I’m honest, I often wonder what it is about Pinot that captivates so many wine lovers the world over? You get the same old, tired theories trotted out - it’s fickle, it’s complex, it takes a lifetime to understand and it transmits terroir better than any other grape. They’re great ideas, sound romantic and are as valid as they are complete bullshit.
I’m not trying to be a smart arse, and I’m certainly not trying to deny that Pinot is all of those things and more. But so are many grape varieties - Riesling, Nebbiolo, Shiraz/Syrah, Cabernet, Grenache, the list goes on. All of those varieties, along with countless others, require years of dedication to understand and, in the hands of sensitive growers and producers, transmit their unique terroir just as well and just as authentically as Pinot. So......what gives? Have we all been taken for a ride? SHIT NO!!!
Pinot, for me, captures beauty in a way no other grape does. Now beauty is in the eye of the beholder, difficult to define and, at best, a tenuous concept. But, at it’s best, Pinot is ethereal, perfumed, pure and ever changing, a subtle, enquiring wine that demands you pay attention. And, in return for efforts, you’re rewarded with something beautiful, that pulls at your emotions. Not perfect, because the most beautiful things in life are made so by their imperfections, but I’m happy to confess that Pinot is the only wine that has ever made me cry. Although, come to think of it, Harriet may have just told me that she didn’t know who Mark Knopfler was, so that might have done it!
That’s what it’s all about for me, with Pinot. We’re chasing beauty, and I can’t think of a better raison d’être than that. Here’s to the chase!