Zen and the art of Pinot Noir


Phaedrus Estate (named after a character from Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance) is a small(ish) winery located on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.

The wine club (known as Plato’s Plonkers) is probably worth joining for the name alone, but it is the Pinot Noir that this winery has produced which really caught our attention.

2017 Mister Wolf Sauvignon Blanc: OUR PICK FOR BEST WHITE AND BEST VALUE WINE. Perfect clarity and excellent colour (more yellow than white which is interesting for a Sauvignon Blanc of such young age). The nose is confusing in that we first thought we were tasting Chardonnay such was the floral bouquet that greeted us. The first sip brought a wave of passionfruit flavours, immediately announcing itself as a Sauvignon Blanc, and from there the flavours grew in complexity in a way none of us have tasted before. We agreed afterwards that it was confusing but also really addictive and we need to go back for more cases when our cumulative supplies run dry. The finish is quite sweet, so drinkers who prefer the dryer whites may not find this to their taste. $20 per bottle.

2017 Pinot Noir: We liked this wine a lot, but the reserve (next entry) was at such a different level that we only took home a few bottles of the non-reserve. The light colour in the glass shows off the perfect clarity of the wine and the slight browning at the edge suggested there would be some good fruit flavours to come. And there were. After the typical Pinot Noir nose invited us in to taste, the warming mouthfeel from the (balanced) alcohol was well supported by the red fruits. The finish itself had at least two levels of complexity which makes for a pretty good Pinot Noir. $24 per bottle.

2017 Reserve Pinot Noir: OUR FAVOURITE. This is quite a wine! Compared to the non-reserve the colour was more to the pink and less to the brown end of the pinot noir spectrum. The nose was distinctly sweeter than the previous wine, which reminded us of a number of Yarra Valley Pinot Noirs we have loved during our walkabouts… The acid levels are kept perfectly in check, supporting rather than overwhelming the complexity of the flavour, likewise the use of oak has been well restrained but clearly helpful. We had some debate about whether or not this was our favourite Pinot Noir (Boat O’ Craigo from the Yarra Valley was the main competition, but St Huberts, Punt Road, Rochford and Provenance all produced cellar-worthy wines of this variety and if you can get it, Giant Steps Applejack Pinot Noir is excellent). We did a parallel tasting of a few different versions of Pinot Noir not that long ago – if you want to know the results, click here.

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