The Tolpuddle Vineyard was purchased by Michael Hill Smith MW and Martin Shaw in 2011. First planted in 1988 by Tony Jordan and Garry Crittenden with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it has since established a reputation for growing exceptional quality grapes. The vineyard took its name from the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who were transported to Australia in 1834 for starting an agrarian union. The leader of the group, George Loveless, spent time working on a property near Richmond called GlenAyr, part of which is now the Tolpuddle vineyard.
The 20 hectare north east facing vineyard is located in the Coal River Valley, which is in a rain shadow, so is dry but cold. The dry climate ensures there is very low disease pressure, which in turn means that they can leave the grapes on the vines for longer to ensure they ripen fully. The soil is light silica over sandstone and of moderate vigour, ensuring well-balanced vines. In 2006 the vineyard won the inaugural Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year award, reflecting the performance of this unique and distinguished site.
The growing season was drier than average meaning disease pressure was low and flowering was good. Ripening was even, and perfectly healthy fruit was harvested in late March, about two weeks earlier than average.
The grapes were all hand-picked and fermented as a combination of whole berries and whole bunches, in open fermenters, with gentle plunging. The wine was aged in French oak, of which about one third was new.
This wine is true to the Tolpuddle Vineyard Pinot Noir style: intensely aromatic, balanced with savoury spice notes from whole bunch fermentation, along with purity of varietal expression, fresh acidity and firm tannins. The 2016 vintage is very perfumed, medium bodied and approachable.
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