The Burton McMahon range seems to be expanding constantly of late, with four different wines (two Chardonnay, two Pinot Noir) now in the lineup. They’ve even spread their wings to Gippsland this vintage too. Fun! I like the handling on these wines – if it was me, I’d make Victorian Pinot in a similar vein.
Perhaps the only thing working against this duo is that they’re too serious for drinking immediately. Structure led, both need 12-18 months in bottle to show their best. Or at least that’s what I think.
Burton McMahon Syme on Yarra Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015
Handpicked, 30% whole bunches. 4 days cold soak and then wild fermentation with no temperature control. 30% new oak in 300 and 500L barrels. 10 months in oak. No fining or filtration. Numbers: pH 3.56, TA 5.8g/L.
The only challenge here is the dominant stem character. Bright ruby coloured, the nose has red cherry and tomato juice, the stems giving some background stalk characters with a flick of vanilla bean oak. Dry and firm palate is still very much bound up in structure, the stems adding some astringency too. Lots of power and great tannins, but a bit hard going right now – I struggled to get through a glass. Important plus signs though, as this isn’t a bad wine. It just needs time to come together (and for the stemminess to integrate). Best drinking: 2017-2024. 17/20, 90/100+. 13.7%, $36. Would I buy it? Not yet.
Burton McMahon Gippsland Pinot Noir 2015
From the Lightfoot & Sons vineyard in East Gippsland. Same vinification as above. Numbers: pH 3.69 TA 5.5g/L.
Curiously, I notice the stem character even more on the nose of this Gippsland Pinot, the aromatics really quite meaty and spicy. Yet the palate delivers fresh raspberry fruit to cancel out the cloves and spice, delivering something quite satisfying, complete with softer tannins and a little x-factor. There’s still a healthy dose of whole bunch spiciness, but this feels like a complex and satisfying, low acid, sappy/juicy Victorian Pinot in a clever modern style. Best drinking: 2017-2023. 18/20, 93/100. 13.2%, $36. Would I buy it? Yes. This is quality Pinot.