If Pinot Palooza were a real rock gig, you’d be hit with some unavoidable set clashes (“Whaaa…! Fleetwood Mac is on at the same time as Led Zeppelin?!”). Fortunately, you won’t have that problem at Pinot Palooza – you can hit up as many wineries as you want, providing you have the staying power. Still! Getting through 250+ wines is a challenge, so we asked wine writer, guru, PP veteran and all-round legend Mike Bennie for his picks.
MAIN STAGE: Picardy (SYD, MEL)
The Pannell family planted with a vision splendid to focus on pinot noir, in an unsung wine region, after founding the prestige winery Moss Wood in Margaret River – that’s a strong argument to dive in here. Fine wines from a determined wine family. This is front and centre, stadium pleasing stuff.
FRINGE: Sailor Seeks Horse (BNE)
Fringe? It doesn’t get much more fringe than the nether regions of Tasmania’s wild south. Paul and GilliLipscombe grow grapes on the edge of the world, unleashing unfettered expressions from this amazing place. Taste the extremity!
DANCE TENT: Stoney Rise (BNE, SYD, MEL)
Winemaker Joe Holyman may not have dexterity on his side, but he sure does make up for it in enthusiasm. Wines are elegant and fresh, with the winemaker himself curiously the opposite. That being said, the wines are often played Daft Punk Live 1997 at full blast on the winery stereo, so Joe’s DF moves do come alive with the right motivation.
EMERGING TALENT: Livewire Wines (MEL)
Here’s a producer that’s on the rise and rise. Young gun, creative approach, expressive wines that feel fruit pure but with a wink and a nod to something wilder. Pinots from Livewire have shown bold personality from the get-go. It’s pinot with an undercut haircut; can look the business, might reveal more.
NEW RELEASE (first time producer with us): Golden Child Wines (SYD, MEL)
Young gun producer returns to his family farm and decides to have a run at making his own label. Sounds familiar… but the wines here are elevated from their gentle handling and winemaker James Hamilton’s desire to mainline you fresh-as expressions of pinot noir. Get on board at ground level, this producer is set to soar. You heard it here first.
VIP: Cloudy Bay (SYD, MEL)
Just looking at the label says ‘expensive’. This is prestige wine at the pointy end of the wine market. Few expenses are spared in vineyard, winery, and all the trimmings. Wine for private jets and stretched limos, but we can all have a go anyway. Feel the luxury; touch the silk. Or something like that.