We are thrilled to have recently acquired some museum bottles direct from the cellar of one of Australia’s greats, Bannockburn Vineyards. The relatively modern, circa-1970’s, era of Australian table wine was greatly influenced by oenological luminaries. Wineries such as Moss Wood and Yarra Yering (1969), Crawford River (1975), Main Ridge Estate (1975), and of course Bannockburn Vineyards (1974) here in Geelong. There are many other names that deserve mention; however, Geelong is the focus here.
Founded by the late Stuart Hooper, and established with a vision to create a vineyard that would produce Australian wine of a calibre able compete with the greats of France, Stuart selected a Moorabool Valley site, near the town of Bannockburn. With the desirable soils consistent with quality viticulture and a previous record of high-quality wine being made in the 1870's.
In the 1970s and 1980s the Australian wine fashion looked more toward Bordeaux as the reference point, Stuart planted Burgundian varieties. The Serré vineyard is now the site of Australia's oldest close-planted Pinot Noir vines.
Everything was done with a complete dedication to producing wine of the highest order, a legacy that is maintained to this day.
The late Stuart Hooper had a deep love for the wines of Burgundy, and was able to drink the best… Bannockburn is still owned by members of the Hooper family, who continue to respect Stuart’s strong belief in making wines that reflect the flavours of the (certified organic) vineyard. James Halliday
Highly fragrant and pure; a lovely wine, fine and long, with superb texture and outstanding finesse. Unanimous top wine at the Stonier International Pinot Noir Tasting.
96 Points James Halliday Published 20 July 2011
Developed colour; spicy nuances to the bouquet are repeated on the savoury/spicy palate, which leaves it to the aftertaste to proclaim its class.
94 Points James Halliday Published 26 July 2009
The class of the wine is immediately apparent, with great mouthfeel, balance and length; perhaps there is a touch of mint (possibly reflecting low alcohol), but it is a minor part of a delicious pinot made in a difficult year.
94 Points James Halliday Published 03 August 2010
Third release of the 'new' ultra close-planted pinot block of 10 000 vines per hectare on a north-facing slope; 100% whole bunches has been a huge success, likewise 12 months in one-third new French hogsheads, then a further 8 months in older barriques. This is reminiscent of the bouquet of young DRC Burgundies, and the palate does not disappoint. It has exceptional length and drive, with a lingering aftertaste. Destined for greatness.
98 Points James Halliday Published 02 August 2016
The utterly gorgeous, complex and finely textured Bannockburn Serré Pinot Noir derives from a special 1.2 hectare vineyard planted at Bannockburn in 1986. The narrow rows, low trellising and close-planted vines (9,000/hectare) “restricts crop levels to mirror those of grand cru Burgundy”. Serré is a French term meaning close or tight fitting. Increased competition between vines results in deeper subsoil root penetration and better access to nutrients and moisture. The low trellising system allows the grape bunches to hang close to the ground – the fruit ripens evenly and benefits from the warmth radiated from the top soil. Serré is made using traditional Burgundian wine making practices. The wine is matured in Alliers and Vosges barriques for 14 months before bottling without filtration.
Andrew Caillard MW
Whole bunch-fermented pinot, 20 months in French oak (mainly used). Vivid, deep crimson; the whole bunch fermentation (and the close planting) indelibly stamp their mark, but despite the ultra-complex nature of the wine, there is harmony wherever you look from the bouquet through to the mid-palate, finish and aftertaste. All class in a whole bunch context.
97 Points James Halliday Published 02 August 2016