Bill Downie has been on a wine making odyssey that has seen him work at tiny producers and large wine factories most notably in Australia and Burgundy. Since 2003 Bill and partner Rachel Needoba (a formidable cheese maker!) have also been making Pinot Noir under his own name from the Yarra Valley and subsequently added Mornington Peninsula and Gippsland to the range complemented by a one off wine (or two). The first under the William Downie label was a Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2003. A wine I had the privilege of tasting on release and I still have a bottle in my cellar. A tasting earlier this year (2013) with industry friends had it more impressive and interesting then some quality Burgundies drunk at the same dinner. Bill and Rachel are based at their farm in West Gippsland.
This is a wine that shows the class of Gippsland Pinot. Darker, more brooding and darker fruits. Tart, tea leaf, smoke, roses, red fruits, blood orange, pretty nose with an earthy edge. The palate showed red fruits that were vibrant and juicy with some dark fruit almost fruit cake like notes. The finish was fine, taut and structured. Great finesse. Possibly my favourite of the 2011s but it really is just splitting hairs and a little bit unfair to compare such young wines.