It’s fair to say that I have somewhat fallen in love with Pinot Noir in recent years. The infatuation has led me go down the rabbit hole seeking truth and transparency of place, soil and vines.
To achieve this level of transparency It was crucial for me to do a few things. Or not do a few things to be more accurate. Exclude the use of oak (any age at all) was at the top of that list. Add nothing whatsoever to the wines was an equal second. And exclude any manipulation of the must and wines during any part of the process.
Essentially the process was .. 100% hand destemmed fruit into a single fermenter, cold soaked and then left for approximately 14 days after ferment begun. Pressed to stainless steel where the wine remained until bottling.
There was no movement of the tank, no racking, no pumps, no adds at any stage.
The result I think speaks for itself. A truly elegant & complex wine which has beautiful cohesion and restraint. The fine mineral structure it has is very reflective of the quartz granite it has it’s roots in and the volcanic hills that surround. This is as pure as it gets.
I am immensely happy with this one! 690 Bottles produced. - Winery Note
Nikau Farm is home to myself, my wife Hannah and our son River. It is an expansive property of about 95 acres in the Baw Baw region of Gippsland, Victoria. It sits high on a group of ranges in a place known to the indigenous peoples of this country as ‘Tolone’
The country is a series of very steep hillsides descending into deep gullies with remnants of the old growth Eucalypt forests that used to spread across the land. The soils here are quite unique and are comprised mostly of compacted sandstone from ancient seabeds with a rich organic layer of highly fertile loam across the top of them. The climate is also unique having Mediterranean influences being in fairly close proximity to the coast whilst having relatively high rainfall and cool nights because of the elevation and exposure.
We have had custody of this property for 4 years now and in that time we have established large vegetable gardens, mixed grazing animals and flocks of runner ducks as well as chickens and other birds to increase the overall bio-diversity. So far there has been one entire hillside planted back to native forest on the property (Vic mountain Ash) and we have another earmarked for regeneration of more local native species later this year. We also have a 25 year old olive grove which has been nurtured back to fruition and have plans to plant a small orchard next to this in the near future.
The property has two small plots (0.75h each) of vines on it, both about 27 years old. Neither of these plots (or the farm as a whole) have ever been subjected to herbicides, inorganic fertilizer or the like and have been farmed organically since they were planted. We have of course continued to farm in this manner adhering to strictly organic principles always with a philosophy of ‘less is more’.
Working with the flow of and within the cycles of nature is of paramount importance in every aspect of what we do on our property.
The fact these vineyards have never suffered herbicides is clearly evident as they have an abundance of activity at all times of the year. They are literally buzzing with life both above and below the ground. There are also no other vineyards nearby and they are a very small part of the entire landscape making them even more unique and a healthy part of the much larger eco system they sit amongst.
I have slowly but surely fallen very much in love with these two little plots. It would be fair to say they have become somewhat of an obsession to me as I have spent most of my days tending to each and every minute aspect of them over the last four years. All of the work I carry out is meticulously done by hand, including all weeding and under-vine management all with fastidious attention to detail.
The vines themselves are also tended to entirely by hand and are managed intentionally to produce extremely small crops. Less than 250g of fruit per plant has been the norm over the last 4 years ! with this yielding less than 500 bottles from each site respectively.
Also falling under the Nikau Farm label will be 2 wines from a small site we have been farming in Tonimbuk. This is an extremely special and unique site in its own right. The vines here are 41 years old (planted the year I was born incidentally)and are some of the first plantings in this region. They sit under and are surrounded by inactive ancient volcanos. Thus the soils are volcanic with huge amounts of decomposed granite in different states strewn throughout. This vineyard also stands alone with no other vineyards for miles around. It is nestled in the centre of the Tonimbuk valley and surrounded by mountainous state park.
My intention with the wines is to make the purest expression of the vines and fruit as possible showing the distinct nature of the soils and the environmental influences. This means the wines essentially make themselves (so to speak) with most of the decisions being made in the vineyard to produce exceptional quality fruit.
As such, In the winery there are no additions at all, including no So2 at any stage of the process. No pumps (or pump-overs) are used on the wines, no oak whatsoever with all of the wines being handled entirely in stainless steel. I have always had a hard time reconciling the fact that when people talk of “terrior” and trying to capture a sense of place in wines one of the first things that is often evident is oak ! I also believe firmly that to capture the true energy of a wine the vessel or medium should be as neutral as possible.
Long cool natural ferments are the norm here and there is no maceration for any of the ferments. The wines are never racked or moved after pressing and are bottled by hand directly from tank after élevage. These are the purest and quite frankly the most exquisite wines I have ever made and are the culmination of a lot of hard work in the vineyards and a lot of patience.
|Product Type||Wine Red Pinot Noir|