Snake & Herring The Hard Road Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is dead sexy. Enigmatic, because it requires the right vineyard sites in cooler regions and is unforgiving of sloppy viticulture. Inspiring, because it does not conform to formulaic winemaking but requires imagination as much as experience. Frustrating as the slightest mistake can have disastrous consequences. When everything comes together the resultant wines are seductive, addictive and memorable.
We went to the Porongurup for our single vineyard Pinot Noir, The Hard Road. The complex and intriguing soil of this vineyard, matched with yields around 3t/Ha provide fruit of rare intensity and length. The fussy, near obsessive, viticulture brings the terroir to the fore and the complex soil structures seem to shine through for this little black duck (mmmmm...duck)
All the fruit was handpicked and chilled before crushing. We used up to 20% whole bunches in various small fermenters, some wild ferments and plunging 3/day during the first part of fermentation. An extra three weeks of further maceration on skins after the ferment adds structure and midpalate. Aging in 500L puncheons (1/3rd new) for 12 months has added complexity and length.
The 2012 The Hard Road shows great darkness and intensity, a bit like Nick Cave recast as a wine. Beautiful seductive aromatics show cherry, floral and meaty characters with some vegetative complexity. The palate is powerful with some firm yet fine tannin balancing the opulent fruit. The long lingering finish shows fruit of optimum ripeness and intensity. Great to wash down Peking Duck or Cassoulet.