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Feature Variety ➺ Pinot Noir

Feature Variety ➺ Pinot Noir

Big Bucks Burgundy

Burgundy is home to some of the world’s most expensive agricultural land. Grown on the land is some of the world's most expensive vines. You guessed it: these vines lead to some of the world’s most expensive wines. Bottles from top Burgundian producers attract well over $20,000. 

Given Burgundy and Pinot Noir are synonymous, with wines being cultivated by Burgundian monks as far back as 1000AD, it’s right to assume that the quality and reputation of Pinot Noir as a variety has directly led to Burgundy’s rise to the top. 

It’s seductive, silky and the best versions accurately express the site where it was grown. It’s also infamously difficult to grow, being thin-skinned in tight bunches, prone to damage and disease. This makes both viniculture and viticulture more challenging than many other varieties. These challenges can lead to less finished wine, which can never quite satiate the thirsty market. While this seems like a simple supply and demand issue, there’s an old saying that a winemaker is often judged by their Pinot Noir. Reading between the lines: it takes patience, skill and talent to make a good Pinot Noir – play the game at your own risk!

Since being introduced in the 1800s, and following a few failed experiments (*cough* Coonawarra), Australians quickly learned that Pinot Noir grows best in cool climates. Tasmania, Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills and Mornington Peninsula have all proven key Pinot Noir destinations, producing wines that reflect their unique sense of place, with Aussie Pinot being generally lighter in colour and boasting perfume and smooth tannins. Pinot Noir production now appears all throughout the New World wine regions, namely USA, New Zealand and Canada, and are vastly popular for their approachable, medium-bodied, drink young styles, intense qualities and versatility when pairing with food.

Being Sometimes Always, we celebrate drinks from all schools of thought. Pinot Noir production can vary between producer and winemaking techniques. Here is a breakdown of what you might generally expect when selecting your perfect Pinot...


Lo-Fi / Natural

Here you’ll find the wild ones – bright, fruity and experimental. They will likely be light in the glass, perhaps a little hazy, and no doubt crunchy and lively on the palate. Expect flavours of raspberry and cherries, with herbal characters poking through from frequent whole bunch fermentation.
Potentially corked in flint glass to best show its enticing rustic raspberry hues.

Key producers to look for: Brian Wines, BK Wines, Lansdowne, Joshua Cooper, Moorak, Ghost Rock


This is where we categorise the largest share of Pinot Noirs on Sometimes Always. The variety lends itself well to progressive winemaking from the next crop of star producers, which is what we search high and low for. Perhaps a little oak maturation, following a wild ferment?
Expect more earth, flowers and spice to poke through, with slightly darker fruits, like black cherry and blueberries. Supple tannins, rounded structure and delicate acidity elevate. A sure bet that we constantly bet on.


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