For this wine, winemaker Stephen George has always been happy to venture outside his own Estate’s boundaries and explore other sites in the Piccadilly Valley. The fruit is predominantly sourced from Jim Grigg’s Cemetery Block at Uraidla, blended with AshtonHills Estate fruit and some other parcels from nearby sites — principally the Whisson Lake and Deanery Vineyards. George believes 2019 provided him with the finest set of source vineyards he’s had the luxury of working with yet.
All of the grapes were hand-picked, keeping individual parcels separate in small open fermenters, with some whole-bunch additions for enhanced aromatics and structure. All ferments were with indigenous yeasts. Each parcel was basket-pressed and went to seasoned French oak barrels with full solids. Just prior to bottling, the wines were racked and blended. Only a small amount of sulfur was employed.
The result is a quintessential Piccadilly Pinot with lifted sweet berry, rhubarb and menthol aromatics that unfurl to release some Campari-like tones. On the palate, there’s lovely restraint, with medium-bodied fruit throwing all of the same characters found on the nose along with some exotic spice, that bitters note, and a vein of sappy, eucalyptus-like undergrowth complexity that lingers on the finish. There are also plenty of fine, wispy tannins. In general there is a fine tension and freshness here, and more restraint and savory structure than we’ve noted in this wine previously. A terrific release from Ashton Hills and again, outstanding value.