I’ll save you some scrolling right now.
The 2018 Curly Flat Pinot range is very very good.
Things are different this year, however, as normally Curly Flat Pinot Noir is an assemblage across the Macedon estate, with ‘The Curly’ a release of the best barrels.
But in 2018, the decision was made to instead focus on terroir rather than a blend, No Curly, but instead three expressions of vineyard. All $53, all wild fermented, with up to 28 days on skins, and all spending 16 months in barrel.
It’s easy to read too much into a terroir exercise like this, your brain trying to convince your nose that the wines are different. But the contrasts, the personalities here are distinct, even though we’re just talking about different blocks.
What’s probably more instructive is to work backwards. What is it about aspect, about clones, about slight variations in ripeness or whole bunch inclusions that can make these three wines, produced from blocks that are adjoining each other, taste so varied?
Ultimately the answer is academic, but it reminds, yet again, that wine is bloody awesome. And so are these wines.
Notes in italics are from the winery.
Curly Flat Pinot Noir 2018
The original blend, sourced from across the vineyard. Includes fruit from the ‘Central’ and Western blocks, across ’95, ’96, ’97 and ’00 plantings. 25% whole bunches, 20% new oak. Highest pH of the trio but just 13.5% alcohol. Immediately prettier than the ‘Central’ wine, though not as high toned as the Western. It’s a generous Curly Flat Pinot, with quintessential red fruit through nose and palate. Tannic too. It’s a step up wine, a ‘let’s get serious about Pinot Noir’ release, of compelling grip and power plus prettiness. Good. Better than good, it’s excellent Pinot. Best drinking: now to at least six years. 18.5/20, 94/100.
Curly Flat Central Pinot Noir 2018
‘The Central bottling is from the oldest vines, Facing due north, this block produces powerful black fruited wines with deep hues, dense aromatics and plentiful tannins.’
The plots here were planted in ’92, ’93 and ’96 (the oldest vines). All MV6 clone, with 25% new oak and 24% whole bunches. pH 3.64, 13.8% alc. The most masculine of the lineup and feels the most substantial. There’s more oak, true, but it’s add to the grandeur – a real benchmark Pinot. High toned red fruit, substantial mid palate flavour, reassuring tannins to finish and drive. Velvety, yet not soft. It’s quite ripe and generous for Macedon – you could almost imagine this being from further down the hill in the Yarra with that red fruit generosity. But the acidity marks this as cool climate fare, and the overall balance makes for a very rewarding drink. Best drinking: will be the longest lived of the trio, drink to eight years plus. 18.7/20, 95/100.
Curly Flat Western Pinot Noir 2018
Finesse is the name of the game with our Western bottling. From the 1998 plantings of 115 & 114 clones, on the western boundary sheltered from the late afternoon sun. It is the latest ripening block on the farm and typically produces the finer, more supple and aromatic components of the Curly Flat blend.
From blocks planted in ’97 and ’98 with an easterly aspect including some on Ordovician sand. ‘Delicate aromatics, with fine boned tannins’. Typically the last picked blocks too. pH 3.59, 13.3% alc. The fruit here seems more glacé, more singular, the acidity making for more refreshment but not quite the bombastic tannic carry. Velvety. Pretty, if just a little fragile and shorter in this company. That prettiness, however, makes it just as convincing, even if I think it sits just marginally below the more balanced ‘Curly Flat’ at the bottom of this heirarchy. Best drinking: now to six years. 18.4/20, 94/100