Byrne Farm Pinot Noir 2021 (6 Bottles) Orange, NSW

$237.00 GST Included


Certified organic. The Pinot Noir is sourced from the Springvale block, southwest of Orange just outside the town of Cargo. This is believed to have been the first certified organic vineyard in NSW and, as per the Chardonnay, the vines are some of the oldest in the region at roughly 30 years. The vineyard is comprised of Abel and 115 clones, all on their own roots at an altitude of 820m.

Byrne has worked with fruit from this site for a dozen years, mostly with the Abel clone, which he prizes for its Christmas spice perfume. The fruit was hand-picked, 100% destemmed and sent to three-tonne open fermenters where it cold-soaked for four days, followed by a 10-day ferment on skins. The wine was then lightly pressed and sent to 500-litre oak barrels where it matured for 10 months (10% new) before being blended.

As a Burgundy lover and having worked in Vosne-Romanée, Byrne’s inspiration wears its heart on its sleeve. Tight and restrained at first glance, it grows dramatically in the glass, revealing berry fruit and florals, spice and hints of earth and salinity. There’s impressive purity on the palate which, while fleshy, is finely drawn and crunchy with medium-bodied structure, lovely silky tannins and fine length. VGV, as Jancis Robinson would say.



About Byrne Farm

In the mid-nineties Jeff Byrne was more than content with his life on Canada’s east coast, before a chance encounter changed everything. One fine blue-sky day while on a gap year in Australia, Byrne jumped in a maxi taxi for the short drive from Broadbeach to Surfers Paradise. Sharing the ride that day was a young local gal called Bridgette. The two hit it off, and well, Byrne decided to stick around for a while.

When Bridgette’s work took her to the Hunter Valley, Byrne followed, stumbling into the wine industry. At first, he hit a brick wall before knocking on the door of the newly founded Tower Estate in Pokolbin, which was hiring cellar door staff at the time. “I had no idea who Len Evans was at the time”, laughs Byrne, “Little did I know I would end up working under the Wayne Gretzky of the Australian wine scene” (referring to the Canadian ice hockey legend also known as The Great One).

Seduced by some fantastic bottles from Australia and France and enamoured by the camaraderie in the local winemaking fraternity, Byrne began to earn his stripes. He completed his degree and began stepping his way up the winemaking ladder. In 2007 (a year after Evans’s passing), Jeff made his first, Damascene pilgrimage to Burgundy, landing in the heart of Vosne-Romanée at François Pinault’s Domaine de Eugénie. He would return for the 2014 vintage, by which time he would be heading up the winemaking for the Agnew family’s trio of properties, Audrey Wilkinson, Poole’s Rock and Cockfighters Ghost.

Managing the Agnew portfolio exposed Byrne to a wealth of growers across the breadth of Australia’s wine regions. But there was one source he became particularly excited about: the pristine high-country Chardonnay and Pinot Noir he was getting from Justin and Pip Jarrett’s organic vineyard in Orange. So, in 2019, when the time had come to branch out on his own, he took a trip across the Blue Mountains to look deeper.

“I was blown away by the potential,” Byrne says of the reconnaissance, citing the altitude and the many aspects and microclimates created by the rippling landscape flowing down from Mount Canobolas. A second chance encounter, this time with a farmer in Nashdale, led to the purchase of Glenidle, an old apple and cherry orchard established in the early 1900s on the northern slope of the extinct volcano.

At 900 metres above sea level and with rich chocolate/red ferrosol soils, Byrne considers Nashdale home to Orange’s blue-ribbon terroir. His first block was planted in 2020: approximately 2.5 hectares of Pinot Noir with a diverse mixture of clones (777, 115, Abel, 667 and 114) selected for complexity. A further three hectares—Chardonnay with a little more Pinot—will go in soon, while the old apple shed will be converted to a winery later this year. When the Glenidle site joins the range, it will sit alongside a small collection of negoce wines sourced from the region’s top growers, which comprise Byrne Farm’s first release.

The young Glenidle Vineyard, Nashdale, NSW

Byrne is more than effusive regarding his chosen region. Betraying his admiration for cool-climate styles, he initially looked further afield in Adelaide Hills and Mornington before settling on Orange. This unique G.I. is the only one in Australia to be based on altitude —you’ve to be at least 600 metres, and the higher you go, the more the average temperature drops. The near-perfect balance of elevation and cool sunshine coupled with mild summers and diurnal range preserving acidity, offer Byrne the brand of varietal purity and freshness he is searching for. “It also reminds me of back home in Nova Scotia,” says Byrne, referring to the undulating countryside and the winter snows that have fallen each winter since this family’s move to the area.

Byrne Farm could have hardly hoped for a friendlier welcome to Orange than the 2019 vintage. A warmer than average year provided the depth and layers to go with the celebrated natural acidity of the region. Byrne’s pulpy 2019 Chardonnay shimmers with glacial purity, while the Pinot Noir wastes no time introducing this seasoned winemaker’s preference for brightness and crunch. Both wines have wonderfully fresh, juicy personalities that make them very hard to stop drinking.

The subsequent release of these wines will come from the 2021 vintage. As we know, 2020 was an arduous year for NSW growers, and although Byrne could lay his hands on some good quality fruit, the year’s style did not fit the mould of the Chardonnay and Pinot of 2019. Byrne has put together a delectable riff on the Pinot Noir/Shiraz blend in their place. You can take the boy out of Hunter, but you can’t take Hunter out of the boy! Welcome to the portfolio, Jeff, Bridgette, Caitlin, Lauren and Bree.

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