Patrick of Coonawarra delve into new territory

May 17, 2022
By Ioni Doherty

After a period of experimentation, change and success, the team at Patrick of Coonawarra continues to update their specialised, artisan range of wines with a new addition. 

Following the revamp of their established ‘Estate Range’ last year with the launch of ‘Two-Blocks’, Patrick of Coonawarra is adding a limited release Pinot Noir to their collection.

It is a varietal that isn’t standard for Patrick of Coonawarra, so the family-owned winery only release it when it ticks every box, and then some.

The fruit was picked from vines in Mount Gambier, a known cool climate region, and the 2019 growing season was excellent for ripening reds. A dry and cool March and April has allowed for slow, even sugar and flavour development presented in the bottled wine.

The Two-Blocks Pinot was made in two separate batches. The first parcel was cold-soaked; it was crushed and sat on skins without adding any yeast, holding it cold for three or four days to extract more flavour from the berries. While the berries are still intact, they start to ferment inside – a process called carbonic maceration – which gives a strawberry character to the wine.

The other parcel was whole-bunch fermented in a small open fermenter, keeping some stalks in the wine. Winemaker Luke Tocaciu said, “Normally you would remove all the stalks from the ferment, but a little whole bunch fermentation is quite common with Pinot.” 4

The stalk character adds to the savoury elements of the wine and adds to its unique tannin structure. 

The two parcels marry together, combining floral and elegant notes with body, flavour and elegant tannins . This  Pinot was barrel-aged in French oak barrels (20% new, 80% old); this provides additional savoury layers to the wine. 

Mr Tocaciu says, “Two-Blocks Pinot Noir is an interesting wine. It’s a heavier, full-bodied style of Pinot and looks darker than what you’d expect from a Pinot. But it has layers of fruit and texture, silky tannins with a hint of spice when you taste it. Whenever I tasted it in barrel, I thought, ‘Wow, this is really interesting‘. 

“Pinot also has a very unique terroir expression of where it’s grown and how it’s grown. Each year is different with Pinot, whereas there is a little more consistency with Cabernet. With Pinot, you can go from a very cool year, making an almost Rosé-like style, to a warmer year (like 2019), where a more full-bodied and textured wine may be crafted.”

This vintage of the Two-Blocks Pinot Noir is a lighter red in a savoury style, with red berry fruit, red cherries and strawberry up front, guided by some spice and pencil shaving flavours from the French oak.

“The palate is where the variety really shines – it’s silky smooth, with softer tannins compared to a Shiraz or Cabernet. There is a  savoury element to the wine, with dark fruit and cherry, finishing with a little bit of spice that comes from the cool climate of Mount Gambier and whole-bunch fermentation,” said Mr Tocaciu.

Two-Blocks Pinot Noir slots into the range as another light red. It is a lunchtime, easy drinking, lighter style at 12.5% alcohol, which is an increasingly popular category at the moment. 

All this change and progression has been mirrored in success and accolades, and fittingly, owner and winemaker Luke Tocaciu has been nominated for the Young Gun of Wine awards. 

Price is $32 and can be purchased through the Patrick of Coonawarra website here.

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