The first wine produced at Picardy was the 1996 Pinot Noir. Picardy Pinots exhibit finesse and complexity, inspired by the great Pinot Noir wines of the old world.
Excellent fruit intensity, structure, pH to acid relationship and fine-grained tannins guarantee long life and excellent bottle development. The wines are also very approachable in their early years.
Since the first vintage in 1996, an increase in new clonal plantings and an advance in vine age has resulted in wines of greater texture, structure and complexity. Picardy Pinot Noir consists of 10 clones: upright, droopy (existing clones in Australia) and clones 114, 115 and 777 (which are special selections from the University of Dijon) as well as 5 new clones imported from Burgundy. It took 21 years - from the time Bill supervised the sourcing of these clones - until the last one was finally delivered to Picardy from quarantine in 2011.
In the Vineyard
The Pinot vines carry a maximum of 7 tonnes per hectare. Yields are seen to be a major influence in the production of quality Pinot Noir. In order to achieve low yields, the vineyard is non-irrigated, cane-pruned, shoot-thinned and a final adjustment is made by crop thinning at veraison.
Picking time for the Pinot is usually around early March. The fruit is ripened to approximately 13° baume, but this is not recipe winemaking and fruit flavour ultimately determines picking dates. The fruit is then handpicked and transported to the adjacent winery on the Picardy estate.
In the Winery
In the winery about 80% of the fruit is destemmed and pumped into small fermenters. The remainder is left as whole bunches. The must is cold macerated pre-fermentation for three to five days. Wild yeast activity is encouraged during the early part of fermentation. The fermentation is carried out at between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius over 15 to 21 days, until the cap sinks. During fermentation the wine is hand-plunged five times per day.
The wine and skins are run directly from the fermenter into the airbag press, and then pressed firmly. The different ferments are then blended to allow maximum integration time. Where possible, at Picardy it is common practice to blend clones for co-fermentation.
The wine is settled and pumped into new to four year old French oak barriques, where it matures for ten months. While in oak the wine goes through malolactic fermentation and each barrel is checked and topped up weekly. This wine is matured on lees until it is racked out of barrel and then given a gentle filtration on its way to bottle.