International Pinot Noir Day – 18th August
Making ‘Pee-noe Nwhar’ at Josef Chromy Wines
Tasmania has the ideal climate for Pinot Noir and it is used for both Sparkling and table wine. Pinot Noir is challenging for winemakers – it is difficult to do well and has varietal limitations compared to Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. However, done right, it is one of the most powerful, expressive, layered and age-worthy wines going around. In winemaker Ockie’s words ‘this is why we get so much satisfaction out of making a wine that can really show its place of origin’.
Josef Chromy Wines has 3 distinct quality levels in our Pinot Noir portfolio. Two are wooded, one is unwooded. This might seem straight-forward – batches of fruit are assigned to barrel or tank – but it is not so! Each parcel of fruit is carefully graded in the vineyard for their natural yielding potential (lower natural yield would typically go into higher rated batches), clone, aspect and soil profile. Each of these factors have a role in crafting our different Pinots.
Parcels assigned to the unwooded Pepik style go straight into red fermenter tanks where the winemaking process is driven to produce a very consistent, fruit-driven, bright, crowd-pleasing wine.
Wooded wines are a bit more complex and layered, taking more attention to get right in the vineyard. The grapes are harvested by hand at optimal ripeness. The fruit is inspected to decide how many whole bunches will be retained – usually around 25% – to create the ideal balance of flavour and structure. The correct fermenter is then selected to start a 3-day cold maceration to extract colour and skin tannin before fermentation begins. About 10% of the fruit will go through wild ferment and the rest will be inoculated with a cultured yeast to deliver a specific profile to the wine. This first ferment takes 7-10 days. After, the fruit is pressed to separate liquid and solids, and the wine inoculated for a second ferment, converting crunchy-green-apple malic acid to creamy lactic acid, before filling oak barrels.
Here in the winery, we order all of our barrels from Burgundy in France and we use a number of forest/toast/grain combinations to achieve our desired end result. We also vary the proportion of wine going into new and old barrels, and age the wine for an average of 8-10 months in barrel. Each barrel of wine is sampled and graded throughout the ageing process, to allow for the optimum blends to be made prior to bottling.
The results of all of this attention are wines of layered complexity and intrigue, suitable for drinking upon release, but showing true character with age. The real question is why is there only one designated Pinot Noir day!?