Even though Australia’s domestic market is its biggest customer, Australian wine is steadily taking the world by storm with over 2000 wine exporters sending tens of thousands of different wines to 111 destinations worldwide.
One of Australia’s leading premium boutique wine producers, Picardy Pemberton vineyard and winery was established by the Pannell family in 1993 in the Pemberton region of Western Australia. Their knowledge, experience and dedication were conceived at the Moss Wood vineyard dating back to 1969.
35 km from the Southern Ocean, the site of the Picardy vineyard was specifically chosen for its well-drained gravel soil. The combination of southern latitude and high altitude provides a sustained ripening of the grapes by creating a cool climate. The family knew that the location is perfect for high-quality cool climate wines, especially Pinot Noir red wine.
Hand-harvesting not only does ensure the utmost quality but also sorting of the grapes is done in the vineyard and no extra handling is needed in the winery. The grapes arrive in perfect condition as the transfer time between the vineyard and winery is stripped to the bare minimum. Grapes are handled with tenderness and care. The Pannells believe that great wines are primarily made in the vineyard and they’ve combined and dedicated their experience and knowledge to producing small batches of premium wine. Although they are drinkable in their youth, cellaring is also beneficial.
Whether you are set to embellish your modern dining room for your next dinner party with this drinkable centre-piece or looking for a pinot noir to enrich your cellar collection, you can’t go wrong with a Picardy Pemberton bottle.
Picardy Pinot Noir
If you haven’t tasted it already, you must have heard of it, but have you ever wondered what is special about Pinot Noir? Although the exact origin of the ancient thin-skinned red grapes, Burgundy is considered as their home. Prices of Burgundy’s Pinot Noir wine rose along with its popularity, inspiring Europe and the New World to make use of their colder climate regions. Now, it’s one of the 10 most planted grapes and one of the most popular red wines in the world.
The first product of the Pannell family in 1996 was a Pinot Noir wine. They imported 5 clones of Pinot Noir grapes from Burgundy, chosen based on quality instead of yield. Friends in Burgundy recommended that they plant a mix of all of the clones to increase the complexity and diversity of the resulting wines.
Substantial variety among the clones regarding growth habits, bunch size, yields, flavour and wine structure have been noticed, enriching the Picardy Pemberton spectre. Import of new Pinot Noir clones is ongoing.
Once you try it, you’d notice that the Picardy Pinot Noir red wine on the market is different from the original tastes of Burgundy. The seductive fruitiness of this Australian Pinot Noir often rates it higher than good burgundy at blind tastings. Although sometimes it’s been judged as closed, lacking fruit and tannic, original fine Burgundy is a complex wine with a different structure than Australian Pinot Noir wine and it’s made to be cellared and drunk later rather than sooner, deeming all comparison almost inappropriate.
Picardy Pemberton Chardonnay
The Pannel’s acquaintance of a substantial clonal selection during their involvement in a domain in Burgundy in the 1980s led them to the selection of 4 chardonnay clones. Picardy Chardonnay is made from equal portions of all 4 clones selected by the University of Dijon to achieve complexity and excellent fruit intensity. Although fruit is ripened until early March and around 12° Baume (a measurement of the fruit’s sugar content and ripeness hence alcohol potential), it’s the flavour of the fruit that has the final call and determines the picking dates.
The delicate, refined Picardy Chardonnay with floral notes and citrus fruits is inspired by the wines of the old world. In spite of being drinkable in its early years, its structure, pH to acid relationship and fine-grained tannins guarantee a wonderful byproduct of cellaring.
Picardy ‘Boise’ Pemberton Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
Unlike the dedication to classic styles like their Chardonnay, Picardy Sauvignon Blanc Semillon is a mix of the old and the new, the ancient and the modern, between tradition and progress.
Its contents are around 80% of three Sauvignon Blanc clones co-fermented with 20% Semillon grapes. The same principle for picking the fruit applies. When the taste is achieved, the grapes are handpicked and transported to the Picardy winery on the same estate, enabling close inspection during a short non-damaging transfer.
The juice is settled for 48 hours the fermentation starts. Using two different yeast strains is what affects fermentation to achieve fruit complexity and texture. Before bottling precedes a gentle filtration.
Picardy Pemberton Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc
The vibrant colours, pronounced but elegant fruit flavours and intense fine-grained tannins are what make Picardy red wines exceptional and a worthy representative of the Pemberton region. Although Picardy vineyard is planted with 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc grapes, the wine’s final composition depends on the conditions of each vintage and varies according to yields and ripeness. Consequently, Picardy Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc is a variable blend of around 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Harvested usually around 13° Baume, the same principles of picking and transportation apply. The fermentation differs from that of Pinot Noir red wine as it is performed at around 25°C, ensuring the purity of fruit without excess extraction. Picardy Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc is hand-plundged 3 times per day. Hand-plunging is forcing the skins back down into the vats to ensure that all of their colour and tannins are infused into the wine.
The wine and skins are then forwarded from the fermenter into the airbag press. Subsequently, the different ferments and varieties are blended as early as possible to achieve maximum integration of tastes and flavours. The wine is matured in new to four-year-old French oak barriques (barrels of a particular size), where it undergoes additional fermentation for 12 months while being checked and topped up weekly.
This wine is usually racked twice during its oak maturation. Racking is the process of transferring a wine from one vessel to another to separate skins, seeds, dead yeast cells and other particles that nest in the bottom of the tank. After twelve months in oak, a final racking and a gentle filtration precede its final destination, the bottle.
The Pannell’s family first Picardy Shiraz was made in 1997, using many techniques applied in the Pinot Noir production but on Shiraz grapes. The 4% Malbec and 2% Viognier add sweetness and complexity. Without a doubt, the product is an elegant, rich, cool climate wine that will progress in finesse through cellaring.
The majority of the Shiraz grapes are ripened to around 13° Baume. However, a smaller portion is ripened at around 12.5° Baume, giving it vibrant scents and perfumed notes. The same principles for picking and transporting the fruit apply. Picardy Shiraz is given up to 4 days’ pre-fermentation i.e. cold maceration. Cold maceration means holding crushed red grapes at a low temperature (5-10°C) which enhances aroma and flavour extraction and consequently, the overall quality of the wine.
Fermentation is carried out for 10 to 14 days between 28 and 32°C or until the cap (the solid mass of grape skins, stems and seeds floating on the top) sinks. The wine and skins are sent from the fermenter into the airbag press and pressed firmly for maximum extraction. At this stage, the different ferments are blended to allow maximum integration.
Picardy Shiraz wine undergoes 12 months of additional (malolactic) fermentation and residue ageing in four-year-old French oak. Around 3% is aged American oak barrels, adding variety, complexity and structure. Picardy Shiraz is usually racked three times during its oak maturation.