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.
I don’t often embrace ‘natural wines’ as I find some are a bit samey, some are a bit gimmicky, some are terrible. There are a few though, that really just are great wines. They just happen to be made very naturally and without preservative. This is one of those. There is a great weight and fruit density, lots of dark fruit complexity and it is dangerously drinkable. I’d highly recommend this to all lovers of wine.