Call it what you will; Pinot Noir, Spatburgunder, Burgundac or Pinot Nero, this ancient varietal has captivated the hearts and minds of vignerons for millennia.
Whilst first documented in 1345, the varietal’s history is believed to extend far beyond this with references to ‘Morillon Pinot’ dating as far back the 400BC. Regardless of starting time, its origins are intrinsically linked to Burgundy, which to this day remains as a spiritual home to the variety.
Pinot Noir is considered to be incredibly genetically unstable. As a result there now exist over 300 different registered clones (potentially more than 2000 in existence!).
Of all these clones, one is of great importance to the Australian wine industry. ‘MV6’ or ‘Mother-Vine 6’, was first brought to Australia in the renowned James Busby collection in 1831, the cuttings been taken from Clos Vougeot in the north of Burgundy.
It’s original use in Australia was as a blending varietal, where Hunter Valley producers would add small portions to try and temper their Shiraz. It was not until the early 1970’s that we began to see it bottled as a single varietal, starting with Seppelt, Tyrrell’s, Yarra Yering and not too shortly after…
Main Ridge Estate.
Planted in 1975, the Main Ridge Estate’s Pinot Noir, was a buck from the normal trend for the early vignerons on the Mornington Peninsula. Deemed a region more suitable to Cabernet Sauvignon, the decision made by Nat & Rosalie to plant Pinot Noir was partly due to a passion for Burgundy, but also confidence in seeing the climatic similarities between the Mornington Peninsula and Burgundy. It proved to be a fortuitous decision, with Pinot Noir now being the most heavily planted varietal in the region and 4th overall Australia wide.
In recognition of his role in Australia’s viticultural history, we were very happy to learn of Nat’s inclusion into the 2017 Order of Australia list. Something worth raising a glass of Pinot Noir to!