Tricia Byrnes and Kevin Bell first planted vines at their Balnarring property in 1998 with the sole intention of creating three single vineyard pinot noirs. Their philosophy centers around respect of the environment as they see their most important role is viticulture. Their wines are from three separate vineyards with slightly different aspects that are planted with different clones of pinot noir.
Hommage comprises 0.8 ha of north-easterly aspect. It is warm and bright, but its terroir is softened by the little corner pocket in which it sits. It is the child in-between. Because it is inclined to abundant growth and fruitfulness, we work hard in this vineyard. Bunch thinning is extensive. But the pace of growth is even, and there always seems to be time to do what needs to be done. It is 95% G5V15 (there are a few rows of MV6). Clone G5V15 is used extensively in the New World. It came to Australia from Wadenswil in Switzerland via the University of California at Davis, just as it did to Oregon and New Zealand. It is the clearly the best of the first generation clones to be used on the Mornington Peninsula. Hommage was 60% planted in 1998 and 40% in 1999.
The pure, tart, wine-gummy nose has blue berries, blackberries and red currents complexed by notes of disturbed clay, charcuterie and crushed nuts. The satiny medium-weighted palate tastes intensely of those squishy fruits and also mortadella. The structure is linear and taut but not lean and is carried through by bright acidity to a persistent, fruitful, drying back palate. Interestingly, the charcuterie quality is present from start to finish.
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