Friday, 10 June 2016

Airlie Bank Noir 2015

This wine is SO wrong but damn it is so right. It's the most confronting wine I have tasted for a long time.

Will it create a stir in some circles? Yes siree! I posted a photo of the wine on Instagram and I was immediately contacted by a winemaker, who in his own right is creative and open minded, stating he would refuse to go anywhere near it. "Do you know what Brett is?" he asked. Whether the issue here is that the wine was made with the three devils of the industry or whether such elements shouldn't be embraced, the end result is captivating and worth a look.

The fruit comes off a vineyard riddled with Phylloxera. Usually this vineyard is poor performing as a result, but in 2015, winemaker Tim Shand says this vineyard was one of his best and two tonnes were picked. Half that amount was fermented with Brettanomyces in what Shand says was his cleanest and most aromatic ferment for the vintage. Lastly, 60 bunches of fruit from the Phylloxera vineyard were hot smoked for 45 minutes in a metal bin with old oak used as fuel. The bunches were then pressed and fermented in a demijohn and added judiciously at blending. The final wine was a 50/50 whole bunch and whole berries without fining or filtration.

Step away from the faults of the wine and sitting proudly are clove, dark cherry, twigs, forest floor aromas. The smoke and Brett which were used as part of the trial are present but those who don't know the difference wouldn't bat an eye lid. Those fabric band-aids and barn yard aromas, as they are affectionately described, sure do have a presence.

The soft fruit delivered is luscious and generous. There's a spice to the finish whilst the smoke can't be missed and adds a dash of warmth.

Throw out the play book and kick back to a wine with a seductive thing happening here. I found it hard to resist the urge to keep going back for a top up I must admit.

Would I buy it? Absolutely!

Made for and sold exclusively at Black Hearts and Sparrows in Melbourne.

Very good.

Region: Yarra Valley
RRP: $22
Source: Sample

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