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Stonier Pinot Noir 2005
-International Wine Cellar
The 2005 Stonier Pinot Noir was fermented in a combination of small open fermenters and larger Potter fermenters, with a small percentage of stalks and very little berry crushing. It was pressed and transferred to French oak for malolactic fermentation, and allowed to mature for a further 11 months before bottling. The wine has great depth of fruit and will continue to develop complexity over the next few years.
This wine has intense fresh raspberry and cherry aromas, with subtle French oak adding complexity. The sweet berry flavors persist on the silky palte, with fine tannins giving length and intensity.
At the heart of Stonier lies a meticulous approach to viticulture and winemaking. A desire to reflect the imprint of each site, through subtle variations in flavor and texture, has earned Stonier a place amongst the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producers in Australia. Early vintages were made off-site until the winery in Merricks, designed by Daryl Jackson, was completed in 1991.
Today, Stonier sources Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from over 150 acres across 5 selected sub-regions: Merricks North, Balnarring, Tuerong, Red Hill and at the estate vineyards in Merricks which span over 50 acres. Grapes from each of the vineyards are vinified separately to allow ultimate flexibility when finally blending the wine to form the two distinct styles of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Stonier Label and Stonier Reserve wines. An unswerving focus on style and structure ensures that the wines reflect the diverse flavors and texture of fruit sourced from across these five sub-regions without any one aroma or flavor dominating the final wine.
A large, climatically diverse country producing just about every wine style imaginable, Australia is often misunderstood by consumers. It is not just a source of blockbuster Shiraz or inexpensive wine with cute critters on the label, though both can certainly be found here. It is impossible to make generalizations about a country this physically massive, but most regions are concentrated in the south of the country and experience either warm, dry weather, or more humid, tropical influence. Australia has for several decades been at the forefront of winemaking technology and has widely adopted the use of screwcaps, even for some premium and ultra-premium bottles.
Shiraz is indeed Australia’s most celebrated and widely planted variety, typically producing bold, supple reds with sweet, jammy fruit and performing best in the Barossa and Hunter Valleys. Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with Shiraz, and also shines on its own particularly in Coonawarra and Margaret River. Grenache and Mourvèdre (often locally referred to as Mataro) are also popular, both on their own and alongside Shiraz in Rhône blends. Chardonnay is common throughout the country and made in a wide range of styles. Sauvignon Blanc has recently surged in popularity to compete with New Zealand’s distinctive version, and Semillon is often utilized as its blending partner, or in the Hunter Valley, on its own to make complex, age-worthy whites. Riesling thrives in the cool-climate Clare and Eden Valleys. Sticky-sweet fortified wine Rutherglen Muscat is a beloved regional specialty of Victoria. Thanks to the country’s relatively agreeable climate throughout and the openness of its people, experimentation is common and ongoing and there is a vast array of intriguing varieties to be found.
One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.
In the Glass
Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.