The Farrside vineyard sits on a northeast-facing slope and consists of limestone topped with black volcanic soil. The vines were planted in 2001 and run east-west to protect the fruit from overexposure to the sun. The clones are a mixture of 114, 115, 777, 667 and MV6. Even though the Farrside and Sangreal vineyards are only 300 metres apart, the darker soils and cooler growing conditions of the Farrside vineyard mean these grapes are picked 10 to 12 days after all others and produce a more masculine and edgy wine.
The fruit is hand-picked and sorted in the vineyard, then fermented in an open-top fermenter. Between 40 to 50 per cent of the fruit will be stemmed and then cold soaked for four days. We use only the natural yeast for the fermentation process, which takes roughly 12 days. Grape-stomping (known as pigeage) will occur two to three times a day depending on the amount of extraction required, and the wine is then placed in 50 to 60 per cent new Allier barrels by gravity. It is racked by gas after secondary fermentation, then again at 18 months to be bottled.
Each vintage of Farrside pinot noir exhibits more masculinity, structure and savoury components, while deep meaty, spicy and mineral flavours also continue to evolve. A balanced array of red and black fruits, Farrside pinot noir is fresh and edgy with bucketloads of character. This is a firm yet delicate wine with a long-textured finish.
The Farr estate is located in the Moorabool Valley between Geelong and Ballarat, 100km southwest of Melbourne. Grape growing in this region dates back more than 200 years, with Swiss settlers planting Victoria’s first vineyards here in the early 1800s. The rich volcanic soil and continental climate at our estate produces premium fruit with a flavour, bouquet and colour that is unique to our surrounding area. Gary and Robyn Farr purchased the original property in 1994 and the second section in 1998—this latter had been untouched for almost 40 years and consisted of dense boxthorn and noxious weeds. The final piece of the puzzle, which links the two blocks of land, was purchased by Nick and Cassie Farr in 2011, making a total of 130 acres—of which 36 acres are under vine and the remainder is maintained as grazing and cropping for cattle and horses. With a mixture of different clones and rootstocks, the grape varieties grown here are viognier, chardonnay, pinot noir, gamay and shiraz.
NED GOODWIN - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
A meld of Dijon clones and the domestic stalwart, MV6, this abuts the lauded Sangreal Vineyard, albeit, the vines are younger, of a cooler disposition and hailing from darker soils over a limestone substrata. Hand-harvested and fermented under the aegis of wild yeast with a good whack of whole-bunch fibre, this exotic and sturdy pinot was ten raised in Allier wood for 18 months or so, with a single racking. Darker fruit allusions in a pinot context, corralled by an expensive kirsch richness across the mid-drift, hints of orange zest acidity, ginger and ample clove, cinnamon and turmeric-clad tannins, slinky, a bit edgy and expansive.
An exotic and rich red with ripe-strawberry, plum and orange-peel character. Medium to full body. Soft and fresh finish. Even better in a year or two. Drink now or hold.
GARY WALSH - THE WINE FRONT
Strawberry, cherry, exotic spice, musk, bergamot, plenty of creamy oak. Medium bodied, intense orange and cherry flavour, with five spice and oak, fine dense silky tannin, and very good length with gentle grain of tannin holding sure, although the tart/sour acidity on the finish sits you on the edge of your seat to an extent, certainly as a young wine anyway. Fresh strawberry and spice in the aftertaste.
Medium red colour with tinges of purple. The bouquet is fragrant and complex, scented and perfumed, the cherry and strawberry fruits come through and the peppery, stemmy whole-bunch notes are well-controlled. There are foresty, Italian-herbal, Campari-like notes but they don't totally rule the palate. Very bright acidity and a slight greenness on the palate. Soft, fine-grained tannins, easygoing texture.