2018 Picardy Tête de Cuvée – Special Release
Much has been said about this vintage release, and quite rightly so. This wine is a new hightide mark for a winery that has been expanding its reign over the variety in Western Australia for many years.
This 2018 vintage is a testament to the exploration of clones in the vineyard and a long-held obsession for red Burgundy, Red cherry, strawberry, black olive, crushed coffee grounds and red apple skins are the first scratch of the surface here; the palate confirms all of these aromas and breathes into them real life.
As is usual for this wine, it really starts to come into its own with air and breathing; the flavours spreading over the back palate like a picnic rug over grass. Having looked at this wine many times over the past 12 months, it has entered a very quiet phase which it will likely have emerged from in time for release, further confirming the decision to hold it back an additional year.
This is, without doubt, the greatest Pinot Noir released by Picardy to date, and with the expectation that 2019, and 2020 will yield wines of equal quality (albeit different attributes), we have officially entered a great period in the history of the house.
After being most impressed with the 2018 Picardy Pinot Noir (tasting note a couple of days ago), I progressed to their aptly named 2018 Tête de Cuvée. I have never before seen an Australian pinot of this calibre. And that’s despite it being my favourite variety since I first drank the famous 1981 Moss Wood wine which also, BTW, was made by Bill Pannell when he was creating the legend which is that label. This Picardy stunner is however a joint effort of both Bill and his son Dan Pannell.
With complex flavours embroidered on an elegant texture, it already has the flavour spectrum (including truffle hints) and smoothness of a mature wine. I could have mistaken it for a circa 10 year old Burgundy from a quality producer in a good year. Seamless and beautifully balanced, I was stunned at how well it drank at this stage. How can that be, given that this producer’s pinots improve for ~ 10 years (or so) …
Pemberton tannins can be admirably fine and I put its velvety smooth elegance down to that, in a superb year coupled with fastidious vineyard management and deft, gentle handling in the winery.
Compared to the standard release, it has darker fruit, is more complex and even better integrated, and is smoother with even more elegance. It evoked in me the setting of a top end restaurant with an ambience of low lights, velvet, beautiful timber, intimate tables and beautifully dressed discreet waiters…