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Australian Wine Centre

Hoddles Creek 1er Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2020

 1er is the exciting new range just released by Hoddles Creek. Its stands for Premier, and is their reserve range of wines. So take the quality of the Hoddles Creek Chardonnay, and their Pint Noir, and ramp them up. Add intensity, a touch of better oak, and estate fruit from the 'best' plots of the vineyard, and you have the Hoddles Creek 1er series. All three 1er wines are highly recommended, and outstanding value for money, and like the rest of the Hoddles range, provide some of the best value for money buying in Australia!

The only downside to the 2020 vintage was yields. Very small crops due to poor weather at flowering resulted in a loss if yield of about 70%. Great for the wine as it gives it concentration and power in a cooler year.


Like the ‘SKINS’ wine, vintages overseas namely Burgundy and Barolo made me look at wines quite differently. With red wines, it’s my belief that the only thing you can really have an influence on is the tannin structure and how you choose to pull the tannins out during fermentation. I have applied this to all Pinot Noir’s that come into the winery nowadays. 

The philosophy is simple with Pinot Noir, you can’t make it to a recipe when it comes to cap management. You need to look at the wine every 6 hours and determine the best way forward. Tannins during fermentation change all the time, and great tannin really determines the best red wines in the world. Each vintage, each block and the varying nature of the micro-climate the block sits in also changes the tannin make up with the wine. During hot years, it’s easy to extract tannin but it’s not really desirable tannin as the fruit ripens quite quick and doesn’t give enough time for tannin development on the vine. We are quite gentle in these years and only really pull out the tannin we want during the latter stages of fermentation. In a cooler year like 2020, you have a lot more room to make those adjustments and cap management 
be a little more vigorous to get better results.

The Pinot Noir for this wine comes from our Top Paddock Vineyard. There are 28 rows of pinot planted in this block, which is West facing and sloping to the South. The fact that it slopes down to the South is really important as it enables us to include about 25% whole clusters to the fermentation. South facing blocks tend to be a bit cooler, and ripening takes a little longer hence the stalks have a chance to regain ripeness without imparting any green flavours on the wine.

Pinot Noir from this block has been treated separately since 2005, when we highlighted that the rows produce slightly different fruit than the remainder of the vineyard. With the vineyard in balance, we simply shoot thin around the crown and take off any multiple shoots. The vines would normally crop about 1.3 kilograms per vine.

In the winery, this has the same treatment as the Estate Pinot Noir except for the inclusion of twenty five per cent whole bunches. This makes the tannins a little more finer and gives structure to the wine for further ageing. The wine spends eighteen months in cask. The wine is not filtered, not fined, or stabilized before bottling.

"It’s from a single block and it’s fermented with 20% whole bunches.

I guess it fits into the ‘pretty red-fruited’ category though there are ample bass notes here and there’s plenty of toasty, smoky, chicory-like influence too. Complexity, it has plenty. Red cherries, both stewed and fresh, with Campari-like herb influences before cedar wood, sweet/earthen spice and assorted roasted nuts. The tannin profile of this wine, ultra fine-grained and assertive at once, is about as good as it gets – not only does it tie everything together but it somehow helps to extend the palate yet more. This is not an obvious wine, it takes time to build and unfold, but it’s a top-notch one."

Rated : 95 Points Winefront.com.au

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