It’s back—and better than ever. After a two-year break, Barney Flanders has switched sources for his Balnarring Pinot from the Silverwood vineyard to nearby Meyers Road. It’s a cooler and more elevated site that provides Flanders with Pinot of more focus and drive. This north-facing parcel, on grey sandy loam begets a deft and nimble—if slightly denser—wine than Garagiste’s Merricks Pinot.
The 2019 was wild-fermented with a high portion of whole berries—unlike the Merricks Pinot there is no whole-bunch influence here (Flanders explains that from this vineyard, the stems can easily dominate the fruit). There was a reasonably long maceration and yet gentle extraction—light pump-overs and a few gentle plunges. The wine was then matured in 300-litre hogsheads (roughly 20% new, François Frères) and spent ten months on lees before bottling (unfiltered).
It’s a complex, sappy Pinot in which juicy red fruits, raspberry and cranberry, beetroot, red rose and fresh mint all play their part—as does some subtle, sweet and spicy oak. The palate is very bright and youthful, containing its fruit nicely with some fine, powdery tannins and good acid line. Overall, this is a very classy, cool and crunchy Pinot with terrific perfume, intensity and spice.