Freycinet, Eastern Tasmania
Freycinet Pinot Noir
The beautifully situated Freycinet Winery is located on the picturesque east coast of Tasmania near the fishing port of Bicheno, famous for abalone and the early penal colony of Maria Island. Geoff Bull bought the 450 acre bushland property in 1978. Originally called Cosgrove, it was one of the earliest land grants in the colony.
The vineyard – now 20 acres and elevated at 100 metres – was planted intuitively on protected slopes reminiscent of an amphitheatre. The site is unique. Whilst the land faces east, the slopes have a northerly and sheltered aspect. The meso-climate is moderated by a nearby body of water called Moulting Lagoon and a row of small hills act as a buffer to prevailing cold south and southeast winds. Frost is non-existent during the growing season – a rarity in Tasmania – though rainfall is erratic. The soils are generally granitic with high iron content.
A split canopy trellising system is used to maximise fruit exposure to sunlight and the vines are cane pruned, with vintage taking place in April. The Pinot Noir is picked according to flavour development and optimum ripeness and then vinified, unusually for this variety, in a roto-fermenter. During fermentation, the vat is rotated at regular intervals to extract colour and flavour. At dryness, the wine is drained, pressed and then matured in a combination of new and used French oak.
Clearly it is vineyard practice combined with the inherent qualities of the site that bring unique quality fruit. The wines are richly coloured and flavoured with excellent fruit definition and a slippery complexity. This is a seriously impressive wine with remarkable overall consistency of quality. Indeed, it should be considered as one of the country’s top Pinot Noirs.
Freycinet is found irregularly on the market, although it has a keen following. Freycinet also produces other wines including Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot and a sparkling wine called Radenti named after winemaker Claudio and Lyndey Radenti. Its Pinot Noir, however, is its strongest card.
Andrew Caillard MW, Langton's