Pinot Palooza – Australia’s premier Pinot-loving wine festival – is making its way around the country, and Pinotphiles are jubilant.
Turning six this year, Pinot Palooza has established itself as one of the fastest growing and most loved wine festivals in Australia, and more recently, New Zealand.
Founded by sommelier, Dan Sims, Pinot Palo oza was established to change the public perception of wine, by replacing swanky ‘wine talk’ with down-to-earth, fun, conversations about what’s in the glass and how it got there.
Over the past six years the festival has grown exponentially with 250 wines now being showcased by 100 wineries, across seven events in 2017, including one being held in Singapore in November, and another held in Wellington in January 2018.
So, for those whose heads may be spinning at the thought of swilling, swirling and sipping through that much wine, we’ve spoken to three of our favourite wineries to get the low-down on the vintages they’ll be showcasing at the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane events.
Our favourite Tasmanian Pinot Noir producer, Dalrymple Vineyards, returns with cheeky and talented vigneron Pete Caldwell at the helm.
New to Dalrymple’s wine tasting line-up are the Tasmania Pinot Noir 2015, Cottage Block Pinot Noir 2014 and Coal River Valley Pinot Noir 2014.
You’ll be able to spot the Tasmania Pinot Noir with its brilliant purple-red colour that shines in the glass.
Pete said this wine features aromas of violets, crushed boysenberry and blackberry with hints of roasted cinnamon, clove and green pepper.
While the Cottage Block has complex aromas of dark spiced fruits with hints of grated fresh beetroot and rhubarb.
“The palate is rich with a firm tannin framework and the trademark fine acidity provides freshness and lift to the finish and length,” Pete said.
The Coal River Valley which sits to the south of Tasmania will also grab your attention with deep crimson tones and purple hues. After a few moments the initial aromas of blue flowers and dried herbs, give way to fleshy dark cherries, rhubarb and plum juice.
Port Phillip Estate and Kooyong Wines, situated on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula – a region renowned for their top Pinot Noir, have been involved in Pinot Palooza since its inception.
Chief winemaker, Glen Hayley, says they’ll be bringing their 2016 Quartier Pinot Noir, 2015 Port Phillip Estate Balnarring Pinot Noir and 2013 Kooyong Estate Pinot Noir to the festival this year.
For the Quartier expect a vibrant and deep scented nose of raspberry and red cherry along with aromas of dark spices and wet rock – now that’s intriguing!
Tasting notes for the Port Phillip Estate Balnarring say it delivers a rich mixture of black cherry and black currant aromas, with a palate that “opens with raspberry flavours and a juicy mid palate, supported by tannin.”
New Zealand’s Valli Vineyards, established in 1998, is led by winemaker Grant Taylor, whose name is synonymous with Otago Pinot Noir.
He started crafting wines in the region in 1993 when there were only 20 hectares of Pinot Noir planted – today there are over 2000!
For this year’s Pinot Palooza, Valli Vineyards will be crossing the Tasman with their Gibbston Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015, Bendigo Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015, Waitaki Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015, and Bannockburn Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Our picks are the Gibbston Vineyard and Waitaki Vineyard Pinot Noirs.
The Gibbston Vineyard has a bright garnet with rose petals, red cherry, doris plum and baking spice on the nose. Expect a highly aromatic palate with layers of red fruit, wild thyme, rosemary and an earthiness that compliments the enchanting florals. How glorious does that sound?
While the Waitaki Vineyard has a light garnet hue with sweet and savoury aromas of fresh lilac, dried plum, wild strawberry, cumin and Manuka-smoked bacon!
Other things that will catch your eye
As we all know, food is very important when wine tasting! Each city has a unique food offering, with different stalls and restaurant pop-ups showcasing the best of the best. European restaurant Epocha is in Melbourne, Surry Hills favourite Porteño is heating up the pans for Sydney Pinotphiles, and Blackbird will serve dishes featuring quality local produce in Brisbane.
Also, keep an ear out for some killer tunes on the day.
In line with festival tradition, sommeliers and winemakers will create their own Pinot Playlists for the event – a selection of tracks played throughout the day to complete the Pinot-tasting experience and no doubt add to the festival vibe.
If you’re looking for some pre-game entertainment, check out our very own Pinot Noir playlist to get you in the mood!