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 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2006 2005 2004

2015 Maipenrai Pinot Noir

The 2014/15 season was one of the least complicated vintages in a long time. Good winter rains, normal budburst, and warm, but not hot weather. Indeed, the hottest day of the vintage, was on November 23rd when we hit 37.4C, and the temperature never again exceeded 33C.  A huge fruit set - not just on our vines, but throughout the district -  meant we had to remove excess fruit - a welcome change to the previous 5 vintages!  We picked 5.5 tonnes of close to perfect fruit on March 15th - our largest crop ever (but still only 2.2 tonnes/acre).  Our vintage (as well as some astronomy) was featured on ABC Landline

Vinification was very easy for these wines with the wild ferments sailing through in record time. We used approximately 30% whole bunches given the ripeness of the stems, and pressed the wines after 10 days.  Stored in French Oak (1/3rd new)  for 22 months - the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.

The 2015 Maipenrai Pinot Noir has a complex, intense, earthy nose that jumps out of the glass. On the palate, its savoury and meaty, with some plums.  The wine is supported by a bit of grippy tannin which will ease over time, and should provide a 10 year+ drinking window. Good to try now, but will be even better in a couple of years.

2015 Amungula Creek Pinot Noir

The 2015 Amungula Creek is a 50:50 mix of fruit from Maipenrai vineyard, and another nearby vineyard. It has a brickish red hue, and a brambly nose with some dried meat and spice. On the palate, its complex gamy and savoury character is set within a medium body of plummy fruit. The wine has a nice tannin line that defines the palate, but due to 22 months in barrel, is ready to drink now. I expect it to continue to improve over the next 5 years, and be drinking well for at least a decade.

2014 Maipenrai Pinot Noir

Due to unusual spring-time conditions, Maipenrai Vineyard didn't produce any fruit for 2014. This Maipenrai Pinot Noir is made from grapes sourced from the Rogha Crois Vineyard, overlooking Lake George, 30 km east of Canberra. At an altitude of 850m, Rogha Crois Vineyard provides one of the Canberra District's coolest grape growing sites, similar to Maipenrai Vineyard.

After an abnormally warm early spring, the 2013/14 season then became a very cool through December.  Nature then turned on the furnace, with temperatures from Christmas through the end of January extraordinarily hot. This heat was largely before veraison, and contributed to relatively thick skins and small berries. After a late March vintage, the wines sailed through their wild ferments, and because of the small berries, I left the wines on their skins for a relatively short 10 days.  The wine spent 20 months in barrel, with 1/3rd new oak, and was bottled under glass stoppers unfined and unfiltered. The 2014 Maipenrai Pinot Noir is a classic and complex Pinot Noir - very much on the savoury-meaty side of the Pinot spectrum.

The 2014 Maipenrai Rogha Crois Vineyard Pinot Noir is already drinking well and will drink well for the next 5 to 10 years.

2014 Amungula Creek Pinot Noir

The 2013/14 vintage was a challenging year in some respects. The warmest August in Canberra's history caused our vines to undergo budburst a month early during the first week of September. This was followed by more seasonable weather (which includes nighttime temperatures near 0C), and the vines shut down for more than a month. When they emerged from this 2nd hibernation, we ended up with essentially no fruit set. Therefore the 2014 wines are made from fruit from two nearby vineyards, one higher, and one at lower elevation than our own, that did manage to get a crop. After the initial bit of warmth, 2014 then became a very cool year through December, when suddenly nature turned on the furnace. Temperatures from Christmas through the end of January were extraordinarily hot. This heat was largely before veraison (when the grapes start to ripen), and contributed to relatively thick skins and small berries.

The ripening period itself was picture perfect, except for some unwanted rain at the end of March which affected the higher elevation vineyard just before picking. The wines sailed through their wild ferments, and because of the small berries, I left the wines on their skins for a shorter period of time than normal - just 10 days.  The wine spent 20 months in barrel, with 1/3rd new oak, and was bottled under screwtop, unfined and unfiltered.

The 2014 Amungula Creek has a deep burgundy hue, with a nose of brambles, forest floor, and some sour cherries. Its savoury palate is medium bodied, with meaty flavours and the sour cherries of the nose coming through. The wine's tannin provides a healthy bit of structure, meaning that the
the wine will benefit from a few years in the cellar, with at least a decade long life ahead of it. An Amungula Creek Pinot Noir that I am very proud of, but a wine that will reward those with some patience. The wine is drinking well, but it will still get better over the next few years.

 

2013 Maipenrai Pinot Noir

After two cool wet years in 2011 and 2012,  the 2013 growing season was much more typical for Canberra, with a very hot January, moderate rains through out most of the growing season, followed by a dry autumn with moderate temperatures.  Poor flowering meant total crop was very small. The 2013 Maipenrai Vineyard Pinot Noir was fermented with wild yeasts and included 20% whole bunches.  We hand plunged the grapes with the ferments reaching temperatures up to 34C. We kept the wine on skins for a total of 14 days and used our basket press to gently extract the wine from the skins.  Neither fined nor filtered, we bottled the wine with vin-o-lok glass stopper after 20 months in french oak barrels (1/3rd new). The 2013 Maipenrai Pinot is of a medium garnet/burgundy hue, with a classic pinot nose.   On the palate the wine has fresh acidity, some savoury meat characters that accompany the predominant flavours of stone fruits. The wine is of light to medium body, and should gain in complexity over the next 3-5 years, and drink well for 5 years after that.

2013 Amungula Creek Pinot Noir

The 2012/13 Growing Season started with the most soil moisture we had seen over the past decade. A coolish spring delayed budburst until the first week of October, and the vines were further slowed by a significant snow and rain storm on the 12th of October. However, from that point out, fine and moderate conditions prevailed so that we had a very even flowering of the vines in the first week of December. By Christmas, after 6 weeks of no precipitation, the vines were beginning to be constrained by lack of moisture, and a very welcome 50mm fell around Christmas. Starting after the New Year, the moderate conditions which prevailed earlier on changed to become very hot, with many 30-38C days in January, including the hottest day we have ever had at our Vineyard, 38.9C. As February came upon us, the weather thankfully moderated, with some well needed rain.  We picked our grapes on the 17th of March.

Our 2013 Amungula Creek Pinot is made up from fruit from our own vineyard and from another district vineyard. It was fermented with wild yeasts, included about 10% whole bunches, and was kept on skins for 3 weeks.  The 2013 Amungula Creek spent 18 months in French Oak, 25% of which was new.

The 2013 Amungula Creek Pinot Noir is a light to medium bodied wine with a complex savoury nose of stone fruit,  a generous palate of wild cherries intermixed with the gamey characteristics typical of Pinot Noir,  all supported by fine tannins that give the wine structure.  The wine is drinking well, but should drink well for another 5 years.

2012 Maipenrai Pinot Noir

2012 was a cool, but good year for Pinot Noir in Canberra. A year where the vines had the right amount of rain, sun, and warmth during ripeing to do their thing.   Fermented with wild yeasts and 15% whole bunch, we hand plunged the grapes as the ferments went through quickly reaching temperatures in the high 30s. We kept the wine on skins for a total of 28 days and used our basket press to gently extract the wine from the skins.  Neither fined nor filtered, we bottled the wine with vin-o-lok glass stopper after 22 months in barrel. The 2012 Maipenrai Pinot is of a medium garnet hue, with an intense and complex brambly nose.   On the palate the wine is much richer than its colour might suggest, with some spice and notes of cherries and dried meat. The wine is already drinking well, but should gain in additional complexity over the next 5 years, drinking well for another 5 years after that. A wine for the Pinot aficionado, and a personal favourite.

2012 Amungula Creek Pinot Noir

2012 was the coolest year in the Canberra District since 1996. After a deluge at the beginning of March (which split a lot of fruit which was then subsequently thinned), we had a month of perfect conditions, and were able to pick our fruit on the 1st of April.  

Our 2012 wines were fermented with wild yeasts, included about 15% whole bunches, and were kept on skins for a total of 30 days.  We also purchased an additional 2 barrels of wine from a nearby vineyard to supplement our small crop. The 2012 Amungula Creek was blended from 4 barrels of wine after it spent a total of 21 months in French Oak (25% new). The 2012 Amungula Creek is a classic pinot noir, with a brambly nose with hints of anise, and a generous but complex palate of dried meats and plums.   Drinking well and should continue to be at peak through 2022

2011 Amungula Creek Pinot Noir

2011 was a very cool and wet year, unlike any vintage we have experienced at Maipenrai. To help ensure we could ripen the fruit, we cut off half of the fruit in early March and ended up picking 1.7 tonnes of fruit on April 17th, when it became too cold to further ripen the grapes. We also purchased 1.2 tonnes of fruit from a nearby vineyard to complement our fruit and make up for our small crop.  We decided to combine these wines and not make a Maipenrai Pinot Noir in 2011.

Fermented with wild yeasts, and kept on skins for a total of 21 days, we bottled the wine after  it spent a total of 11 months in French Oak.   We did not fine or filter, aiming to preserve the delicate features of the wine.   The 2011 Amungula Creek Pinot Noir is an aromatic pinot that is significantly lighter in body than previous vintages. The nose of mushrooms and spice accompanies a palate of strawberries with a fresh finish. A pleasant wine ideally suited for summer,  and is ready to drink.

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2010 Maipenrai Pinot Noir

2010 was a warm year in Canberra, but a year where the vines had enough water to really grow.  The year was set to have both high quality and reasonable quantity when in the middle of February we received a 130mm of rain, splitting 80% of the fruit in the vineyard. While this would typically lead to an uncontrollable outbreak of disease, we went through the vineyard bunch by bunch and cut out the affected fruit leaving us with excellent quality fruit, albeit in minute quantities. We harvested 800 kg of fruit from our hectare on the 22nd of March.

Fermented with wild yeasts, and kept on skins for a total of 16 days, we bottled the wine after it spent a total of 17 months in French Oak.  We did not fine or filter the wine, ensuring the wine remained clear by careful racking and storage conditions. The 2010 Maipenrai is a deeply coloured wine that has a nose of cherry, plums and forest floor, with a rich palate of stone fruits, and given structure with some fine tannins.  The wine is already drinking well, but will continue to evolve for the coming decade.

Chris Shanahan, Canberra Times, January 30th, 2013:
offering bright, deep fruit flavours ... a juicy texture, a touch of oak pushing through and a teasing, biting savoury element adding to the excitement

Jancis Robinson, JancisRobinson.com, January 4th, 2015:

served after four very smart red burgundies and was the only one of the five reds that was actually drained to the bottom. Sweet and briary and full of pleasure. Great balance and enough freshness. Pure hedonistic expression of Pinot with a note of mushrooms. 17 points

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2009 Maipenrai Pinot Noir

Fermented with wild yeasts, and held on skins for a total of 5 weeks, we kept the wine for a total of 22 months in French Oak. As always, we did not fine or filter the wine, ensuring the wine remained clear by careful racking and storage conditions. The 2009 Maipenrai is a deeply coloured wine that has lovely aromas of plums and earthiness, with a rich, slightly savoury palate, and silky tannins that are in balance with the fruit. The wine, is really beginning to drink well, and should provide enjoyment over the next decade.

Jancis Robinson - Financial Times

"...having tasted the Maipenrai 2009, I can assure you that it is very respectable indeed. We tasted it with dinner in Hobart alongside an offering from the same vintage by Gary Farr, one of Victoria's most admired Pinot veterans, and it easily held its ground. "

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2009 Amungula Creek Pinot Noir

Sourced entirely from fruit from our own vineyard, the 2009 Amungula Creek is medium bodied, with aromas of stone fruits, some spice, and forest floor. Its meaty palate of plums, a hint of anise, and complex savoury characters is supported by top quality French oak. The 2009 Amungula Creek is  at its peak and should remain so for another 5 years.

Len Sorbello - WineWise -

"... in the bigger pinot style, all the more surprising given its price. The aromas suggest dark plums with spicy hints, while the richly flavoured but varietal palate is finely structured, having the slightest of savoury hints. I am confident this well balanced wine will age well - if you can stop yourself from drinking it now. Highly Recommended

Chris Shanahan - Canberra Times-

"...it's not your fluffy strawberry-like cheapie. It's a solid pinot, the aroma showing earthy, stalky pinot aromas laced with oak - and the palate revealing similar flavours, plus a rich texture. Firm tannins permeate the wine, giving it a rustic charm"

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2008 Maipenrai Pinot Noir

Our best 3 barrels of wine from 2008 went into the 2008 Maipenrai Pinot Noir. The nose has lovely aromas of dried strawberries with a hint of smokiness. On the palate it reveals a spectrum of complex pinot flavours – with some stalkiness, ripe berries, with a backbone of fine-tannins, and a crisp acid finish. Drinking well, the 2008 Maipenrai is at peak, and I recommend enjoying it over the next few years.

Winewise (Oct 2010): "Attractive red cherry aromas with a touch of spice. An elegant, balanced wine with very good depth of varietal flavours supported by a silky tannin structure. This will develop nicely, but is a very delicous drink right now. Highly recommended"

Chris Shanahan Canberra Times (Feb 23rd, 2011):

"What an exciting pinot - the best I've seen from Canberra...Maipenrai delivers most of pinot's great features: limpid colour; high-toned perfume, combined with varietal fruit, savouriness and a hint of stalkiness; similar fruit, savoury, stalky flavour; luxurious, silky texture; and a decent line of tannin holding it all together."

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2008 Amungula Creek Pinot Noir

Sourced entirely from fruit from our own vineyard, the 2008 Amungula Creek is light to medium bodied, typical of Pinot Noir, with an intense and complex nose. Its palate of strawberries and stone fruits is supported by top quality French oak.  The 2008 Amungula Creek is drinking well now, and should be consumed over the next several years.

Chris Shanahan's Top Drops, Canberra Times (15 Aug 2010): "it reveals a spectrum of pinot aromas and flavours – from a touch of stalkiness to ripe berries. Despite the light colour, it has a good depth of flavour and the silky but firm structure of good pinot. "

Len Sorbello, WineWise, (17 Aug 2010): "The wine is light in colour but exhibits vibrant aromas displaying red cherry notes. The palate shows nice depth of fruit with real varietal pinot characters (red cherries and spice), good textural qualities and a clean acid finish. Recommended"

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2006 Maipenrai Pinot Noir

Sourced from fruit from our MV6, 114, 115, 521, 386, and 777 clones, the 2006 Maipenrai was fermented with wild yeasts, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The 2006 Maipenrai Pinot Noir features notes of forest floor and truffles on the nose, a silky palate of stone fruits, fine tannins, and French Oak.  The 2006 Maipenrai is fully mature and should be drunk up.

Chris Shanahan's Top Drops, Canberra Times (28 Jun 2009): "From his small vineyard, at 760 metres above sea level, Brian handcrafts the attractive, savoury, and complex Maipenrai Pinot Noir."

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2006 Amungula Creek Pinot Noir

Sourced from fruit from our own vineyard and a nearby vineyard in Bywong, the 2006 Amungula Creek is a medium bodied wine, with complex forest floor boquet. Its slightly firm and structured palate makes to a savoury palate of stone fruits, all supported by french oak.  The 2006 Amungula Creek is fully mature and should be drunk up.

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2005 Maipenrai Pinot Noir

Fermented with wild yeasts, and bottled unfined and unfiltered, the 2005 Maipenrai Pinot Noir remains a deeply coloured wine even at 8 years of age. The wine has developed savoury aromas, and plummy fruit with some earthy overtones is supported by some French Oak and fine tannins. The 2005 Maipenrai has reached maturity and should remain at its peak for the next 3-5 years.

James Halliday's Australian Wine Companion (2010): "...spiced plum spectrum; good mouthfeel and balance...90 points"

Winewise (Oct 2010): "The wine is aging well and is not yet at its peak. The nose is restrained, with spicy/plummy notes, while the palate has good structure, length, and fresh acidity.Recommended"

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2004 Amungula Creek Pinot Noir

Sourced from fruit from our own MV6 clones, and two other Canberra District Vineyards, the 2004 Amungula Creek is a light bodied wine. It has a nicely structured palate, plummy fruit with hints of rhubarb, and a french oak backbone.  Fully Mature, the 2004 Amungula creek should be drunk up.

Chris Shanahan's Top Drops, Canberra Times (28 Jun 2009): "The mature Amungula Creek wine includes purchased as well as estate-grown fruit and offers terrific value at $10–$12 a bottle."

Max Crus Grape Expectations (12 Jun 2010) I am absolutely Staggered, not because this is a $13 Pinot, but because it is $13, Pinot, and delicious

Len Sorbello of WineWise (1 Jul 2010): "Don’t blink, the price is not a misprint! What’s more, this is a very good wine which has aged superbly. There’s lots of spice and red fruits on the delicate palate which has a velvety tannin structure and good length of flavour. ($12.99) Recommended 14% screwcap"