By Farr

Victoria, victoria Australia

From their base in Geelong, around 80 kilometres southwest of Melbourne, Gary Farr and his son Nick make small quantities of single vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that rank with Australia's best. Gary Farr has made wine in Australia (at Bannockburn) and Burgundy (he worked 10 vintages at Domaine Dujac) since the early 1980s.

By Farr's Chardonnays reflect the care they take in making balanced, elegant wines. The Chardonnay comes from the Sangreal site, first planted in 1994. The ‘GC’ Chardonnay is from the densely-planted Côte Vineyard (7,000 vines per hectare) where diversity of aspect and soil provide different styles from which to make the blend. In the cellar, whole-bunch pressing, natural, cool fermentation and judicious use of oak provide elegance and complexity. Their Viognier comes from a blend of fruit across two vineyard sites, with time spent on skins and barrel fermentation creating a perfumed, luscious wine.

The Shiraz is co-fermented with a small percentage of Viognier for added richness on the nose and palate. For their Pinot Noirs, all of the fruit is hand-picked, while a high percentage of whole-bunch fermentation is used to lift the aromas and give a lovely grainy tannin structure on the palate. The Sangreal vineyard's red soil over limestone is unique in the estate, and has Pinot Noir vines which the Farrs believe have mutated since they planted them twenty years ago to adapt to their own micro-climate.

Although lying just 300 metres from Sangreal, the differing conditions of the Farrside vineyard mean that it is harvested 10 to 12 days later. The rows of vines at Farrside run east to west to shade the fruit from over exposure. The clones are a mixture of the Bernard clones from Dijon (114, 115, 777 and 667) and Australia's own MV6. The soils at Farrside and Tout Près are mostly black volcanic with heavy amounts of limestone on the surface with the ‘RP’ Pinot Noir, new to our list this year, sourced from the Côte Vineyard on a mix of loam, limestone and black volcanic soils. Tout Près is a densely planted (7,300 vines per hectare) hillside site that produces the most intense wine of the four Pinot Noirs. It is also, thanks to its density and low yields, three times more expensive to farm than Sangreal. The ‘Tout Près’ and ‘Sangreal’ Pinot Noirs are wood fermented and aged, while ‘Farrside’ and ‘RP’ are vinified in stainless steel before ageing in wood.

 

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