Pinot Noir ~ No. 1 on this Year's Christmas List
"…Pinot Noir produces the most complex, hedonistic, and remarkably thrilling red wine in the world!" says Robert Parker, a statement that Jim Lumbers, owner of Lerida Estate, whole-heartedly agrees with - especially when matched with his Christmas turkey.
It was Jim's love of Pinot Noir that saw him spend many days in the vineyards of Burgundy while living in France in the late 80's, and prompted him to try the Pinot Noir wines of Dr Edgar Riek, one of the pioneers of the Canberra District wine region, on his return to Australia. This tasting bought him to the Lake George region of the Canberra District in 1997 to track down what he described as "some of the most outstanding Pinot Noirs I'd ever tried".
As a result, Jim and his wife Anne Caine purchased a 40 acre plot of land nestled at the bottom of the Cullerin Range, overlooking the beautiful and mysterious Lake George - perfect for planting Pinot Noir. According to Jim, "The terrior here is ideal; Pinot needs sunshine without excessive heat, dry air, deep soil and cool nights, and the gravelly, colluvial soil at the foot of the Range provides all of this. These conditions encourage deep-rooted, healthy vines with enough stress to favour the production of grapes with thick skins, excellent fruit flavours and high levels of anti-ageing polyphenols. The slopes face east, allowing the rising sun to dry out any dew, and so reduce the impact of moulds and mildews. The steepness of the slopes also contributes to vine health by promoting good air drainage and reducing the risk of frost damage during the growing season."
The newly released Lerida Estate 2009 'Cullerin' Pinot Noir, Canberra District (RRP $35) follows the highly successful 2008 'Cullerin' Pinot Noir which received excellent scores from both wine critics and wine shows alike. Jim says, "The 2009 vintage was crafted to achieve a balance between a fruit driven style, and more texture and weight. In particular the aroma of the new 2009 is very evocative with stewed plums, rhubarb and spice, mixed with gamey and savoury overtones, and a hint of vanilla from 20% new oak barrel."
"Our winemaker Malcolm Burdett and I work together and draw on Edgar's previous experiences in the region to craft elegant Pinot Noirs made from low-yielding vines, with a strong focus on naturally ripened bunch tannins, which releases the full spectrum of primary and secondary flavours thanks to the use of wild yeast and minimal intervention.
Whilst the 2009 is still young, if decanted before tasting you will discover that the wine already delivers the flavours to match its fine, silky tannins and body, and experience with previous vintages indicates that the wine will also improve over the next 8-10 years."
This wine is ideal for this festive season's dishes of game and roast turkey…and many more to come!
Another style of Pinot Noir which is impossible to ignore as summer rapidly approaches is Lerida Estate's 2011 Pinot Rosé (RRP $18). Again all the fruit for this wine is sourced from Lerida Estate's Lake George vineyard. Jim didn't need a rosé revolution to convince him that Pinot Noir can produce stunning, dry rosé wine with the colour of pale Argyle diamonds. "This wine is mostly made from juice runoff from our red ferments after 10-12 hours skin contact and holds both fruit and savoury characters wound up in a tight ball of natural fruit acids. If I was to classify it I'd call it a 'modern, high-end bistro wine'. It's quite French in style with a light touch and a style that goes fantastically with food – particularly with spicy dishes. I love it!"
Elegant wines from Lake George in the Canberra District which showcase Pinot Noir's potential & bright future on this unique site.
Lerida Estate 2009 'Cullerin' Pinot Noir, Canberra District (RRP $35)
Lerida Estate 2011 Pinot Rosé, Canberra District (RRP $18)
Availability: Nationally though Vintage Cellars and good liquor stores. Distributed by Vino Bambino (VIC), Vintner Partners (NSW and QLD) and Lerida Estate (ACT). These wines can also be purchased at the Lerida Estate Cellar Door or via their online store at www.leridaestate.com.au.
Jim Lumbers & Anne Caine, Lerida Estate P: 02 6295 6640 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.leridaestate.com.au
Lerida Estate, Federal Highway, Lake George, NSW 2581 (turn off at the Gurney VC Rest Area)
Current Lerida Estate wines:
Cellar Door Range
Zenzi rosato frizzanti ($14.50)
2010 Unwooded Chardonnay ($16.50)
NV LGB ($19.50)
Super Premium Range
2008 Brut Rosé Methode Champenoise ($29.50)
2010 Viognier ($22)
2011 Pinot Grigio ($25)
2010 Chardonnay ($32)
2010 Botrytis Pinot Gris ($29.50)
2011 Pinot Rosé ($18)
2010 Pinot Rosé Sur Lie ($22)
2010 Canberra District Shiraz ($29.50)
2009 'Cullerin' Pinot Noir ($35)
2010 Merlot Cabernet Franc ($29.50)
Proprietor's Selection Range
2008 'Josephine' Pinot Noir [only made in exceptional vintages] ($78)
2008 Lake George Shiraz Viognier ($49.50)
The name 'Lerida' was chosen to reflect the history of the region. Back in 1827, NSW Surveyor-General Major Thomas Mitchell named a local creek 'Lerida' after his travels in the Spanish region of the same name.
Lerida Estate prides itself on excellence in design of both its wine and winery. The winery buildings were designed by distinguished Australian architect Glenn Murcutt and have featured in several international architecture publications.
The Estate includes a winery, cellar door and café facility, as well as Petanque/boules pistes for competition or social games.