"It’s been a while since we have made a 1ER Pinot Blanc. With some difficult vintages behind us and another block of Blanc coming on board we felt the time was right again.
The original block of Pinot Blanc was planted in 1997 and until 2008 it was blended away into other varieties because of a few reasons. Firstly, I didn’t really know how to grow Blanc or even when to pick it. Over the duration of these years we trialed different things in the vineyard and also in the winery to achieve a style we were happy with. It is a variety that is a little fickle in the vineyard especially when it comes to certain vintages conditions. We know that we won’t be making this wine every vintage, but certainly happy when it does make the grade.
In 2006, we planted another block of Pinot Blanc over the road from the original block. This vineyard has a different aspect and row orientation. The rows run East-West which helps protect the fruit from the harsh sun in warmer years as the sun is usually directly over the top of the canopy, shading the fruit. The soil in this block is very different, top soil is basically non existent and it sits on a rocky shelf. This tends to make the vines were harder, but sometimes that’s not a bad thing.
With having now two blocks on board, it gives us greater flexibility in the winery. No two blocks will ripen at the same time especially when they have different aspects. The two blocks give the fruit different nuisances which give the wine greater complexity.
In terms of winemaking, it’s relatively straight forward. Picked then cooled down overnight as whole bunches. Destemmed, crushed and pressed into tank. We let the juice settle for 5 to 6 days without enzymes only relying on temperature to slowly settle the vineyard dust to the bottom of the tank. We are looking for cloudy, oxidised juice as this protects the wine later on in life from oxidation. In regards to fermentation temperature, this is where it's a little different from the norm. We don’t want to ferment at cool temperatures as we have found with this variety it can sometimes be too tropical. The wine is fermented warm between 25-27 degrees without any temperature control. After this it is left to age on lees until bottling. Again, no additions to this wine.
With Pinot Blanc, easy enough to consume now but it will benefit from 7-10 years in the cellar." - Franco D'Anna, Hoddles Creek Estate
It’s not a big wine in flavour terms but it’s a powerful one. Don’t ask me how that works; it’s a vibe thing, a presence. Quartz, apple, pear, boiled lolly and seaspray notes with a (gentle) cider-like edge. There’s texture here, in-built, not excessive, important. It has both brightness and brood. As impressive as it is it feels as though it’s only just on its way, that its sleeves aren’t yet rolled up, that it still has tricks hidden up there.