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Hurley Vineyards

hurley.jpgEven amongst the pointy end of Mornington Peninsula (and indeed, Australian) Pinot Noir producers, Hurley Vineyards stands tall as an exceptional maker.  Essentially the passion of highly successful legal minds Kevin Bell and Tricia Byrnes, Hurley Vineyards has grown from a weekend hobby to one of the most impressive Pinot Noir sources in this country thanks to endless work and dedication of two people who frankly, can't possibly have the spare time available to achieve what they've already accomplished.

Three small contiguous single-vineyards (Lodestone, Hommage and Garamond) are all planted exclusively to Pinot Noir and wrap north to east around the gentle slopes of a small volcanic hill in Balnarring. Lodestone's one-and-a-half hectares was mostly planted in 1999 with 114, 115 and MV6, with a little 777 added in 2007, and tends to produce to my palate the most powerful, structured and sturdy of the three Pinots.  Hommage is less than a hectare, and was planted in 1998 and 1999 to mostly G5V15, one of the workhorse Pinot clones on the Peninsula.  Open, accessible and fruit-driven, this is the softest and most approachable young.  Finally the 1.2 ha east-facing Garamond vineyard which is entirely planted to MV6, and in recent years has perhaps proven itself to be the most interesting and complex of the three sites, perfectly marrying the vibrancy and fruitful juiciness of pure Pinot with the minerals and structure necessary to produce great wine.

Both viticulture and winemaking are relatively straightforward - as little input as possible to allow the natural site and fruit to express themselves as purely as possible.  Essentially, Kevin only does what needs to be done - nothing more, nothing less.

It is easy to get slightly jaded and overlook some lovely Pinot Noirs within the current landscape of local Pinot, as there are genuinely more good and great examples of this finicky variety around than ever before - a result I suspect of both better understanding and management of vines and winemaking, as well greater vine age and better-informed planted decisions.  Yet it would be a fool who overlooked the three single-vineyard and the entry 'Estate' blend from Hurley.  

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