Golding Francis John Pinot Noir 2004

We had a very pleasant experience today.

With Foodie’s mum visiting to help with the Little Dictator, we decided to head out for a nice Sunday lunch at our new favourite beer venue, the Lobethal Bierhaus. After a nice morning feeding lazy roos at Cleland Wildlife Park on the first decent day for three weeks, we drove casually towards Lobethal, taking in the beautiful and quaint villages of the Adelaide Hills along the way. We had thought about doing a cellar door tasting on the way, and I had vaguely remembered someone telling us that there was a good winery just around Lenswood we should visit. I couldn’t remember the name, but as we approached Lobethal I suddenly saw the Golding sign and veered hard to the right. I was pretty sure that this was the one.

We drove up a long gravel road next to a vine-covered hillside to a barn that had been done up with new stonework and outside tables in a very creative and pleasing display. There were no signs pointing to any tasting room, so we were a bit apprehensive as we approached. I ducked inside just to check and was welcomed by an older couple who said that they were happy to receive us. Apparently they were still cleaning up from a huge wedding they had hosted the day before, which explained the lack of signage.

So, Foodie and I popped inside as Greg and Connie treated us to three types of Sauvignon Blanc (the Local 2007,  the Tourist 2007 and the Leap 2007 all @ $10 each!) and a Chardonnay (Billy Goat Hill 2005 @ $25). Greg was very friendly and spun more than one good yarn (we reluctantly had to tear ourselves away given the impending lunch reservation). The whites were all very nice, but a little cold so we hesitate to review them here (stay tuned). However, when we saw the label for the Francis John Pinot Noir, we knew we had had it before.

We racked our brains and then remembered we had tasted it at the National Wine Centre a few weeks before. At the time I remembered it being very pleasant, but I must have been more in a Shiraz mood because it didn’t make an impression on me. This time, however, I was fascinated with the smoothness and flavour. Greg told us their son and wine maker, Darren, did a whole-cluster fermentation that basically means they treat the grapes very gently during the wine-making process. The result is an extremely smooth and light-coloured Pinot Noir, but with a bursting flavour of fruit. We loved it. At $30 a bottle it’s not a steal, but I think for its age and complexity, it is worth the money.

I also think they have one of the more original descriptions on the back of the bottle (apparently ‘Francis John’, the scribbly face on the label, was Greg’s dad):

We’ve affectionately named this wine after our late and colourful grandfather – Francis John Golding. In one of life’s ironies he was raised as Peter Bennett, only to discover his true Golding identity upon enlisting in 1939. Although a beer lover at heart (bless him), our Pinot Noir shares many of his idiosyncrasies – it’s complex and irreverent with a warm and generous personality.

As un-wine-like as that sounds, it’s spot-on. It’s even more à propos considering that the Lobethal Bierhaus is only 2 minutes away by car. Try this mob – excellent Adelaide Hills’ wines, yet very unique.

Groggy

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~ by Groggy on 08/02/2009.

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