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Journey Wines 2015 Pinot Noir
A Pinot Gem From the Sublime 2015 Vintage
Top 20 wines of 2016 – Philip Rich, Australian Financial Review
Gold – Royal Melbourne Wine Awards 2016
Vintage 2015 has been very kind to the Pinot Noir drinker, very, very kind. And although that amply full treasure chest is nearing exhaustion, there are some truly sparkling gems still to be had. While many have marched on to the good, but less exciting 2016 vintage, there’s a little more to be had of one of our very top Pinot picks of 2015 (and Messrs Hooke and Rich agree on that selection). And for the money, we reckon the 2015 Journey Pinot Noir is a must buy.
Coming in at No.2 in Huon Hooke’s Real Review tasting of 45 2015 Yarra Valley Pinots, The Journey left some stellar producers – and prestige cuvees – languishing down the ladder. And of Huon’s Top 2015 Victorian Pinots, out of 137, it came in at No.6, with the top five made up of Bindi ‘Block 5’, Bindi ‘Original’, Yabby Lake ‘Block 6’… you get the picture. And only one of those wines was less than double the price of the Journey, and not by much.
Philip Rich also selected it in his Top 20 Wines of 2016, being one of just four Pinots chosen (along with Giant Steps ‘Sexton’, a Yabby Lake Single Vineyard and Chatto’s ‘Isle’), and again the best priced of the lot. It took out Gold at the most competitive Pinot class in the country at the 2016 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards, and racked up countless good reviews. As Mike Bennie said: “It’s one of those pinots that feels effortless but likewise elegant, bright in fruit character, shiny and fun to drink. It’s great.” It even clocked up an impressive 17.5/20 from Richard Hemming MW> writing for JancisRobinson.com – not a source of over-scoring hysteria, indeed this sits more in the Premier/Grand Cru range for them. For our money, this is cracking value, lifted, intense and detailed, but lithe, too, with great sinuous Pinot fruit and lingering structure – a real gem from a truly great year. The stocks of this are running very low, so be quick!
Journey Wines Pinot Noir 2015: $31/bottle
“Sommelier turned winemaker Damian North worked at TarraWarra in the Yarra Valley before spending three years in Oregon and five years at Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River. In 2011 he returned to the Yarra to start his own label. From the beginning, these well-crafted wines have overdelivered and the 2015 pinot is a lovely example. A blend of fruit from Woori Yallock and Gladysdale in the Upper Yarra, this brightly coloured and vibrant wine has aromas of red fruits, pomegranate and a little spice, while the palate is energetic and long. It can be enjoyed now or over the next five or so years.”
– Philip Rich, Australian Financial Review Top 20 Wines of 2016
“This charming pinot has a savoury, smoky, toasty bouquet of dried herbs, spices and dried cherry with strong oak. Powerful and long, it has concentration and impact, a fruit-sweet middle and supple tannins. Lovely now; worth cellaring. Drink next 12 years.”
– Gourmet Traveller Wine, Dec/Jan 2017: 95 points
“Bright, medium to full red/purple colour, youthful and vibrant looking. The aromas are of dried herbs, spices and dried cherry, oak making a fairly strong contribution. Smoky, savoury and toasty. A powerful, long-flavoured wine of good concentration and impact. Fruit-sweet middle; ample smooth tannins. It’s loaded with charm. Very good, and worth cellaring. Drink 2016-2028”
– Huon Hooke, huonhooke.com, August 2016: 95 points
Some More Information
As the label name suggest, Damian North has been on a journey that has led him to the Yarra Valley and the pursuit of making wines of character and place. Starting with stints as a sommelier in Sydney landmark restaurants Tetsuya’s (the original Rozelle site) and Pier at Rose Bay, Damian pursued the more practical side of wine by studying Winemaking at Charles Sturt in Wagga. He then conducted a practical apprenticeship at some very fine addresses for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay: TarraWarra Estate for several years as assistant winemaker; Brenton-Lane in Oregon for three seasons; and five years as winemaker at Leeuwin Estate, polishing his Chardonnay credentials. The end aim was Damian’s inevitable launch of his own label. He chose the Yarra Valley to best express the twin foils of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and in 2011 launched Journey Wines. Damian makes his wine at the impeccable Medhurst facility and manages fruit under contract from some of the Yarra’s most prestigious vineyards.
Notes on the 2015 Journey Pinot From Damian:
Lone Star Creek – Woori Yallock, Upper Yarra Valley. Deep red volcanic soil over clay. Excellent water retention. Northerly aspect. MV6 clone Pinot Noir planted in 1998. Hand-picked on 4/3/15.
Willowlake – Gladysdale, Upper Yarra Valley. Clay loam soil. Southerly aspect. MV6 clone Pinot Noir planted in 1991. Hand-picked on 11/3/15.
The fruit was 80% destemmed, with 20% whole bunches included in open fermenters ranging from 1–4 tonnes in capacity. Fermentation commenced in its own time using only wild yeast. The cap was gently hand plunged and also pumped over once per day during the peak of fermentation. After an average of 15 days on skins the wine was pressed and transferred to barrel. 25% of the oak was new French barriques (Dargaud & Jaegle, D’Aquitane & Mercurey), with the remainder in older French barriques. Maturation in oak lasted for around 9 months before bottling on 4/2/16.
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Free delivery to capital city metro areas for orders of $250+ bottles. All other areas, please inquire. Free transfer to all Melbourne Wine Ark locations for cellarage clients