Back in April I had the opportunity to spend three weeks in Australia that included visits to the Adelaide Hills wine region, Barossa Valley, and the Yarra Valley (here, here, here, and here). During my trip my trip, I had a couple of notable observations about the wine scene in Australia – one of which was the growing trend of damn good Pinots coming out of southern Australia.
As the weather here in Virginia makes the final transition from Summer to Fall, and the comfortably cool weather takes residence here for another month until winter sets in, I find myself ‘jonesing’ for Beaujolais and Pinot Noir. To satisfy this craving, I decided to open one of the bottles of Australian Pinot that I brought back with me – the JE Ngeringa 2006 Pinot Noir.
Ngeringa is situated below Mt. Barker, located in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia. Ngeringa has five hectares of land under vine, all of which are farmed biodynamically.
As fervent practitioners of biodynamic wine growing, we respect biodynamics as a sensitivity to the rhythms of nature, the health of the soil and the connection between plant, animal and cosmos. It is a pragmatic solution to farming without the use of chemicals and a necessary acknowledgement that the farm unit is part of a greater whole.
Although I did not get to personally visit Ngeringa during my visit, I picked this up during a Pinot tasting while I was in Melbourne.
JE Ngeringa 2006 Pinot Noir (~$25AUS/~$19US) Light red color in the glass, with a nose of cherry, strawberry, red clay soil, and barnyard aromas (funky in a good way). Medium tannins with mineral, cherry, baking spice, and floral flavors in the mouth. The wine spent 14 months in oak, 35% of which was new barrels, which added just a dollop (is that a real wine term) of wood to the wine. Sadly, I believe Ngeringa wines are only distributed in Australia.
Although the Aussie Pinots are not nipping at Burgundy’s heels in terms of elegance, the Aussies are making some tasty Pinots. If you find an Australian Pinot Noir in your local wine shop, pick it up, it may surprise you.