Picardy and Friends
Barry Weinman: 18th May 2020
I recently wrote about the brilliant value Pinot Noir from Shepherd’s Hut in the Porongorups, a region better known for Riesling.
The heart and soul of Pinot production in WA, however, remains in Pemberton with the charge being led by Picardy.
The Pannell family are stalwarts of the Australian wine industry. Bill and Sandra founded Moss Wood in 1969, before moving their focus to Pemberton in 1993 with the establishment of Picardy.
Their sons followed in their footsteps. Dan is in charge at Picardy, whilst Steve is one of the most important winemakers in South Australia, having worked at major wineries before establishing the S.C. Pannell label.
Whilst Picardy makes high quality wines from Chardonnay, Merlot/Cabernet and Shiraz, for me, Pinot is the most significant. It is a variety that is notoriously hard to get right yet seems to have an affinity to Pemberton.
There are two wines in the range. The Estate Pinot and the Tête de Cuvée. The later wine is made as a reserve. In addition to fruit from a special plot, a small part of the Estate vineyard is set aside for this wine and given special treatment.
Interestingly, they use a different section of the Estate vineyard each year. This has the added effect of improving the overall quality of the vineyards over time, without greatly impacting on production in any given year.
2018 was an excellent year in Pemberton, and the soon to be released Pinots may well be the best wines made by Picardy.
Another cracking 2018 Pinot comes from Sittella. The team there can do no wrong at the moment and the value here is brilliant.
Sittella – Pinot Noir – Grenade Plot – 2018 (18.2/20pts). Depth and complexity on show here. The pretty fruit on the palate is a treat, with supple, savoury textural notes in support. There is excellent depth of flavours, supported by supple, texturing tannins. Really delicious, with superb balance, structure and intrinsic power. Great value from this underrated producer.
Picardy – Pinot Noir – 2018 (18.5/20pts – $45). Pretty, refined and elegant with the superb fruit the focus. The balance is a highlight, with silky tannins and fruit that lingers for some time. The savoury, structural components build on the finish adding depth. A complete and quite beautiful wine with surprising power. Now – 5 years.
Picardy – Pinot Noir – Tête de Cuvée – 2018 (18.6/20pts – $70). Whilst pretty and fragrant, there is more power, depth and structure here compared to the Estate. Made in a Burgundian style, with a focus on texture and length of flavours. Yet ultimately, the precise fruit is the star. 3 – 5 years cellaring recommended.
Sittella – Cabernet/Malbec – Reserve – 2018 (18.3/20pts – $30). The vibrancy of this wine is a highlight. Opens with blackcurrant fruit, with pretty floral highlights and a touch of mint. The power is more evident on the palate, the balance excellent, and the finish near seamless. Approachable and delicious now, but also age worthy. A bargain.