The Bellingham Estate vineyard is located in Arthur’s Seat adjacent to Main Ridge on The Mornington Peninsula. The two and a half acre (1 hectare) vineyard was planted in 1996 exclusively to Pinot Noir. The vines are now 18 years old and the fruit produced is complex and flavoursome. The pruning method employed in the vineyard is ‘Cane Pruning’. This is a labour intensive and time consuming style of pruning but is well worth the effort when the finest quality fruit is required. Bellingham Estate wine was fortunate enough to be critiqued recently by MW Tim Wildman, who along with Simon Tan (Head of Christie’s Auctions China) in Shanghai, had their first taste.
The first thing you notice about this wine, above any simple old world / new world binary decision, is the fact it’s a superb expression of Pinot Noir, it’s incredibly high quality, and it’s made in the light, perfumed style of a Chambolle or Volnay. So pure varietal expression, quality and style sing out more than exact origin. In terms of where it’s from, it has to be a region with an established reputation for Pinot Noir. Pinot is just too fickle for this sort of quality to be fluked in a non-classic region. As to where that region is? Well, if its Burgundy it’s as I mentioned, a producer making Chambolle in the light, ethereal, perfumed style such as Philippe Pacalet. But if it’s not Burgundy but somewhere in the new world, it’s made by someone who loves drinking those kinds of Burgundy! Noticeably pale, almost fragile colour, incredibly fine, delicate yet aromatically complex nose, the palate is all red fruits, spice and a palate coating perfume – all held together with a gossamer acidity, with a structure as fine as a spiders web. One of the unique features of Pinot Noir amongst all red grape varieties is its ability to deliver intensity and complexity of flavour on a remarkably light body, and this wine is a great example of that facet.