Ten Minutes by Tractor 2010 Estate Pinot Noir, Victoria, Australia

We live in a shallow culture enamoured with big things, e.g., BIG scores, BIG money, BIG houses…the “McMansions” built with the vulgar, coarse mortar drawn from a pit called Ostentation.  And of course, much ado is made about big wines. The “Big Guns”. The “Power-House” reds.  The “Mo-Fo” wines… 

Along comes this exquisite and graceful beauty. Here is a light-bodied Pinot Noir (generally, “light” Pinot Noir in Australia is a polite euphemism for insipid) that evinces all that is magical about Pinot Noir, its ability to convey nuance, rapture, mystery and delicate complexity in the slenderest of carriages.  

I plunged my nose into the glass and heard violets laughing. A delicious, rapturous laugh. This wine has a spellbinding nose. It lashes at you with swells of violet, hints of morello cherry, whispers of nougat, faint airs of rhubarb and in the back of the room someone drops a clove, like a nail into woodwork which holds this velvety wine ever so gingerly. There’s intelligence and light in this glass, which I raise and suddenly see the world through a scarlet-coloured lens. A world that can produce this, is indeed, a beautiful one.

The vibrancy of the bouquet is such, it almost takes on corporal dimensions. I couldn’t help but try and “drink” the smell.  I finally tasted it and the wine washed over me like a dream, the flavours in the glass rushing in, like the wind in my face. I was suddenly in Beaune, careening down the back hills on a bike with my feet in the air, laughing as we—my friends and I—raced each other back to into town. There is something eminently Burgundian here, if not in provenance, then in spirit and ideal. Burgundian in its courage to make a statement based on an inexorable truth—what was in the vineyards shall be in the glass.

Meanwhile, this pinot zipped along—very racy, even “nervy” stuff—providing a swell of fleshy dark red berry flavours in the middle palate, which then dispersed into lush and resolutely Pinot Noir shadings and nuance, all of them present in the nose, but now fleshed out on the palate.  It exited gracefully, leaving a kind of prismatic afterglow. 

And in the glass the air was unforgettably scented with the fluttering of violets, for that’s what the flavours did, they fluttered and shimmered, the way phrases by Coltrane or Miles would flutter and fade, somehow staying with you long after the music ceased. 

This is a wine made with great care, love and reverence. I say reverence because whoever made this wine, clearly loves Pinot Noir and its mysterious ways of bringing forth a myriad of haunting flavours from the slenderest of bodies.

I tasted the wine days ago and I still have it present, a testament perhaps to the fact that wine—and most especially, Pinot Noir when made as well as this—does not require big shoulder pads or stiletto heels to imbue stylishness or exhilarating beauty. Sure, this wine may not be “profound” —but it’s not trying to be. Yet it manages to possess clarity and unforgettable largesse of spirit, enough so it might just lead us to seek profundity, if not in the glass, then within ourselves.

—Raphael Antonio Nazario, from a VinoVeracity blog post, 28 August 2012.

Text © 2020, Raphael Antonio Nazario. All Rights Reserved. (Wine label images are property of the winery. No ownership claimed.)

Winery Notes: Ten Minutes By Tractor practice a non interventionist approach to enhance the wonderful flavours, complexity, elegance and length of their wines. Pinot Noir clones MV6, 115, 777 and Pommard are hand picked and completely de-stemmed. A five to six day pre-ferment maceration precedes wild yeast fermentation with manual plunging, followed by a short post ferment maceration for a total of twenty days on skins. Following pressing and a short settling period the wine is transferred to a mix of new and seasoned French oak barriques. Completing natural malolactic with the onset of warmer temperatures in spring, the wine is bottled un-fined and unfiltered after a ten months oak maturation. Alcohol 14.0%  

1333 Mornington Flinders Rd, Main Ridge, Victoria 3928 Australia • tenminutesbytractor.com.au

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