Variety: Pinot Noir
Country, Region: Australia, Tasmania
Pinot Noir fruit sourced from the Bird vineyard (48%) in Pipers River, Joe Holyman’s new block (21%), Goaty Hill (18%), Ghost Rock (11%) and Clover Hill (2%). The clones were mostly 114 and MV6. 50% of the Bird vineyard portion was whole-bunch fermented with the rest de-stemmed and whole berries used. Bottled filtered, but unfined. 5100 bottles produced.
‘The high proportion of 114 (naturally red-fruited) from a cooler part of the state (Piper’s Brook) and whole bunch means there is a savoury edge reminiscent of our own vineyard combined with a perfumed delicacy.’ Paul Lipscombe, Sailor Seeks Horse.
’One Monkey refers to a refrain in a Gillian Welch song that we used to sing our daughter to sleep with. She sings, “One monkey don’t stop the show” and for us it’s about surmounting the difficulties life throws at you.
2019 was gearing up to be an epic vintage in the Huon. Great growing conditions, warmer than average and delicious looking bunches! But the environment was quite dry which always makes us nervous and whilst we were in Cygnet one afternoon in January, dry lightning strikes swung in from the west. As we drove home and over the hills, we feared the worst and out to the west from on top of those hills we could see the plumes of smoke in the forests. Columns rising. “It’ll be ok if they get onto them quickly.” Days later we watched as the Riveaux Road fire across the Huon escalated. Time seemed to stand still. Rabbits in the headlights so to speak. Refreshing the Tasmanian Fire Service website. Most events you can plan for in the wine-growing game – frost protection, bird nets, spraying, etc. With smoke and fire, you feel helpless, you just watch it happen. A month of thick smoke blanketed the vineyard and we knew harvest was over before it had begun. In some ways we were lucky. We didn’t lose the vineyard, we didn’t make wine that would only start to show taint later and we could plan.
So plan we did. We talked to some friends who took pity on us and offered fruit to make a wine that could fill the gap between our 2018 and our 2020 releases. We bought some Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and it proved an interesting harvest. With your own wines that you’ve grown it’s about finetuning, the one percenters. Here we were working with fruit with different flavour profiles, different acid structures, different ripeness. Fascinating. Challenging.’ Paul Lipscombe, Sailor Seeks Horse.
This tiny vineyard is one of Australia’s most southerly located in the Huon valley in southern Tasmania. Paul and Gilli Lipscombe own the vineyard and make the wines and both have considerable vineyard and winemaking experience behind them including winning the Jimmy Watson trophy for Home Hill where they have been the winemakers in recent years. From working together in the Languedoc to New Zealand, Oregon and Margaret River they spent a lot of time researching and considering the best possible vineyard site with the aim to produce Australia’s best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay finally settling on this ideal north facing vineyard which is sheltered from the prevailing south-westerly winds. Best described as a warm site within a cool climate, the soil is free-draining quartz inflicted mudstone soil over clay. The vineyard is planted to a large variety of Dijon clones as well as numerous other clones planted by the previous owners and all vineyard work is done as organically as possible. In 2019 a new planting including some Trousseau has been made on the steep north-west facing slope beside the main vineyard block.