The fruit you’ll taste in Out of Step’s Willowlake Vineyard Pinot Noir comes from a prized patch of land in the Yarra. The Pinot vines planted here are over 30 years old. Grapes are treated with utmost respect—handpicked, a melange of wholebunch and destemmed. They are wild fermented separately, and aged in a mixture of new and old French oak. The wine sees very little sulphur. The result is a dry, pure Pinot. It’s wonderfully balanced, with a refreshing natural acidity.
Out of Step is the passion project of winemakers David Chatfield and Nathan Reeves. In 2012, the pair said goodbye to their former careers and set about making the best expressions of Yarra Valley terroir they could. They are all about minimal intervention, allowing the fruit from the various vineyards they tend to shine through in ever bottle.
'From the large, mature Upper Yarra Willowlake Vineyard, 20% whole bunches/80% whole berries fermented separately, the destemmed portion conventionally made, the whole bunch component sealed for 3 days then foot-stomped, plunged, pressed to one new, six unused French hogsheads for 8 months maturation. Nothing, including no additions of any kind other than low SO2 at bottling. It's another tribute to the vintage.'
95 points, Wine Companion, December 2018
'The Willowlake vineyard was planted in 1988 and sits at 300 metres above sea level. It’s plenty interesting. It’s sour and spicy, smoky and autumnal well before it’s fruity. It ricochets its way along the palate, sourness sparking as it goes. It’s dry, tannnic, savoury; it’s complex. There’s a slight cloudiness to the wine’s appearance, or at least a suggestion of cloudiness anyway. Not a bad thing. It’s a very dry, uncompromised wine. It should develop very well.'
93 points, The Wine Front, September 2018
Yarra ValleyThe Yarra Valley was first planted by the Ryrie brothers who explored a way through the Snowy Mountains to the Yarra Valley, planting grapes in 1838 just three years after the foundation of Melbourne. A wine industry (developed by Swiss Settlers particularly Hubert de Castella and Baron Guillaume de Pury in the 1850s) thrived during the gold rush era and heyday of the 19th century. However, the end of the gold rush brought the wine industry into decline and it was not until the 1970’s that the modern wine industry started up again. The region is probably Australia’s best-known cool-climate area, yet it is really a patchwork of meso-climates. This varied topography creates an incredible set of variables. Vineyards are planted on elevations of 50 to 400m on varying aspects and management programmes. The more exposed sites are subject to severe spring frosts and winds. Overall, the area experiences a relatively high rainfall pattern and is known for its temperature extremes during ripening. Site selection is crucial, with the best vineyards often located where the original vines were once planted, generally on sandy clay loams and gravels. The Yarra Valley is well known for high quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Blends with Shiraz increasingly garnering attention. Sparkling wine production is also extremely important, with many of Australia’s finest examples produced in the region.