Over two days in late June I tasted a lot of wine, about 150 samples of different styles from around the world. There are always a few standouts, the lovely and not so lovely, but almost all of them made well and to a high standard.

And then there are those that stop you in your tracks, and you resent the hustle around you and that you’ve got a job to do. Yes this is work, hard work, one has to focus, make decisions quickly and come to fast conclusions. But then there’s that wine that whispers for you to stop, slow down, sit and get comfortable, there’s no hurry. And wine with real meaning, real pleasure and real emotion.

If you’ve got this far, I can assure you this doesn’t happen often. The wine in question was the Sailor Seeks Horse Pinot Noir 2022. I think our understanding of Pinot Noir is more diverse and richer than it was twenty years ago. As Burgundy evolved, new wine regions, vineyards and producers sought their own unique expressions. And fashions change too. How many times have people told me over the years that they don’t like pinot because “it’s too light”, and certainly 20 years ago, they would have almost always been right?

The wines at the tasting surrounding the Sailor Seeks Horse were all excellent and of a contemporary style, so it was almost a relief to taste such a gentle, caressing Pinot. Hand picked, hand sorted, hand plunged and naturally fermented long and cool. Very little new oak is used and only 5% whole bunch, ripe stems are a luxury when growing Pinot Noir on the viticultural edge.

Unusually, there is a post maceration on skins, for up to 2 weeks, the tannins integrating and resolved. This is clearly a special site, and the winemaking has nurtured an incredibly complex, layered and detailed wine of softness finesse and old world refinement. Classic and beautiful, pure and gently resting on the palate, the tannins framing, and long, yet so soft. This is what I had always imagined Pinot Noir to be, with its low alcohol of 12.5% and light to medium bodied profile. Such a fine wine, one of the finest in Australia, and destined for a very long life.


Sailor Seeks Horse Pinot Noir 2022

Beautiful Pinot Noir, with a low alcohol of 12.5%. Fruits of the English summer; sweet raspberry, strawberry, cherry, blueberry, redcurrant and notes of clove, star anise and fennel. The smell is so delightful and fresh and I feel there is so much more to come with some bottle age. Light to medium bodied. Pure and gentle, with a deep core of red and blue fruits, silky, sappy tannins and savoury spices. The flavours and texture linger forever, the balance of elements perfect. One of my favourite wines, destined for a very long life of great vinous pleasure.


Sailor Seeks Horse Dijon Clone Pinot Noir 2022

Gilli and Paul Lipscombe believe that the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is grown at the viticultural edge. Wine lovers looking for deep colour, extract and high acidity will not find it here. Indeed, this is what Pinot Noir was like twenty years ago, and I liken these wines to a combination of Volnay’s austerity and coolness, and Chambolle’s silk and seduction. The Sailor Seeks Horse Dijon Clone 2022 is made essentially the same as the estate Pinot, without the whole bunches and with a greater proportion of new oak. Slightly darker than the estate with a mix of poached plum, rhubarb and cherry, violets with sweet and savoury Middle Eastern Spice. Gentle palate, silky, satiny with a subtle textural grip. Terrific expanse of flavour and richness. Incredible intensity yet light and gentle. The tannins focused and precise. One of the best Pinot Noirs in Australia and reminiscent of the American producer Hirsch.


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