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By Farr Farrside Geelong Pinot Noir 2020 £69.97
FARR FARRSIDE GEELONG PINOT NOIR
Winemakers Gary Farr and son Nick are behind By Farr. Gary has made wine in Australia (at Bannockburn) and Burgundy (he worked 10 vintages at Domaine Dujac) since the early 1980s. Today, from 33 acres in Geelong, 80 kilometres southwest of Melbourne, they make small quantities of single vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that rank with Australia's best.
A variety of viticultural techniques are used at By Farr, from cover cropping and mulching to eliminate herbicides and conserve moisture, to only using organic sprays. This wine is from a selection of the newer plantings which are on the most northerly side of the vineyard. Soils are black volcanic soil over limestone. The vines run east to west to shade the fruit from over exposure and are a mixture of 114, 115, 777, 667 and MV6 clones. This vineyard is picked 10 to 12 days after all others. The darker soils and cooler growing conditions produce a chunky, edgy wine.
The 2017/2018 growing season started a couple of weeks later than normal, due to substantial winter rainfall. The conditions quickly changed from wet to dry after Christmas and the summer months saw little rain. Fortunately, several perfectly timed summer storms helped the season to progress. The canopies were healthy and temperatures were mild through March, resulting in all fruit needing to be picked simultaneously. The usual five week harvest period became three but the fruit was evenly ripened with an abundance of flavour.
The fruit was hand picked and sorted in the vineyard. 50% of the fruit was destemmed before a four day cold soak prior to open top stainless steel fermentation over 12 days using natural yeasts. Pigeage occurred two to three times a day depending on the amount of extraction required. The wine was then transferred to 50% new Allier Damy barrels by gravity where it was racked twice: firstly after malolactic fermentation and again after 18 months prior to bottling.
This wine has a very firm structure with more savoury components than the other two Pinots from By Farr. It has a balanced array of red and black fruit and is both fresh and edgy. Deep meaty, spicy and mineral notes continue to evolve thanks to the character of the vineyards. This is a firm yet delicate wine with a long, textured finish.
Check out the critical review...
97 Points James Halliday
It takes time in the glass for assertive cedar wood oak to settle into the fruit but at all steps along the way this wine oozes both quality and class. You're in the most skilled of hands here. Woodsmoke, assorted cherries, twiggy spice notes, flavour-infused acidity and fine-grained tannin. It's a truly beautiful wine.
Reviewed by Campbell Mattinson