William Downie Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2008


I think Bill makes the most engaging Pinots Noir in Australia. They need a bit of time to evolve and they need you to pay attention. But they are lovely.

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The Downie Yarra Pinot lives a long time in a good cellar. And this has been sitting for a all of its life a good cellar. It will be approaching readiness to drink but at 11 years old it is still on the young side.

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.


The Downie Yarra is notoriously slow to open up and unfold. Infamously, his first vintage took two weeks. While the 2007 won’t take two weeks you may want to give it some form of aeration to speed up the process. I would serve this wine on the cooler side 12-14 degrees just to enhance the elegance, perfume and acidity. You can always warm it up in the glass.

Food Matches

A delicate wine for sure. I’d be looking for aromatic herbs and spices, baked fish or some lovely crab would be a winner.

Yarra Valley

A region that is just too big to generalise about. The difference between Upper and Lower Yarra can be the ability to ripen some grapes or not. Great wines are made in the Yarra but it is best to know the producers.

Pinot Noir

This is the most elusive grape. It is relatively early ripening and extremely sensitive to terroir. Its perfect place on earth is the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. So haunting are great red Burgundy’s charms that growers everywhere try to emulate them. Pinot Noir is not just a one trick pony, it can make great reds, rosé, sparkling and even sweet wines, whites on occasion and I’ve tasted a decent fortified Pinot Noir too.

Additional information

Weight 1.3 kg
Dimensions 7 × 7 × 30 cm
Food Match

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