Variety: Pinot Noir
Country, Region: Australia, Tasmania, Huon Valley
'Our winemaking philosophy is pretty simple. Listen to the fruit and let it guide you. We soak the fruit at ambient temperature (cold in the Huon) and then let natural yeast start the fermentation process. Once the ferments are complete we taste the wine on skins until the tannin profile is right and then press to barrel. From there we inoculate for malolactic fermentation, then leave the wine unsulphured until late-spring and add sulphur dioxide. The wine is left untouched until bottling, which varies depending on how the wine looks. Stems are used as a supportive component when they are ripe and the amount varies.
2018 then...while the rest of Australia complained that it was too hot in 2018, down here in the Huon we were basking in a warmer-than-normal but much less stressful growing season. In fact, the only problem was the proliferation of European wasps which meant a lot of early evenings hacking through the bush trying to find their nests. There was a slight anomaly in that budburst was a month later than usual (quite worrying in Australia's coolest wine region) yet we began picking earlier than ever (29th March). Once picking started the fruit came in thick and fast and was another one of those logistically-challenging harvests.
There was a remarkable evenness to the fruit that came in, with generous fruit weight and lovely tannin ripeness. It was the first year we've had where all the seeds were brown and crunchy. Stems were also nicely lignified and we were able to use up to 30% whole bunch in some batches and overall used about 15%. Ferments kicked off wild early and happily ticked over until we pressed off straight to barrel. Elevage was slightly longer than normal at about 14 months. There's a bit more density in the 2018 Pinot Noir - denser fruit and denser structure. It's built for the long-haul but delicious drinking now.' Paul Lipscombe, Sailor Seeks Horse.
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.