Philippa Farr goes about her business quietly, crafting some of Victoria’s best Pinot Noir’s from Mornington Peninsula and Gippsland, the latter where she is based and kicked off her own label in 2012. Whilst she shares a famous surname in winemaking circles, you may not have seen her wares, as they are made in microscopic quantities… just a combined total of 250 dozen produced each year. She is the third Farr to be obsessed with the charms of Pinot Noir and has focused on the variety with many winemaking stints in top domains of Burgundy. Her skill and knowledge of the variety is undeniable. Whilst her style is for powerful and succulent Pinot’s, they are a little more deft and subtle than the brooding wines from the more widely known By Farr label.
Philippa burst on to the scene with her Gippsland Pinot Noir in 2012, with critics saying that ‘as debut wines go, this takes the cake. It is a cracker” (Campbell Mattinson). The vineyard, 20 years old, is in South Gippsland which is as cold, wild and marginal as anywhere on the mainland to grow grapes. It is super aromatic, with dry flowers, musk and red fruits. The palate is medium boded with classic Pinot flavours of cherry, wild strawberry, spice and savouriness. The length through the palate and tannin is impressive.
The vineyard for the Mornington Pinot Noir is also 20 years old, on red loam and gravel. The wine is slightly darker, juicier and more primary fruits are on offer here. Dark berry, black cherry, forest floor, pine and mushroom flavours here. It is classy, soft and long glass of Pinot Noir.
Both of these wines can be kept for five years (+) but are drinking well already and it is worth enjoying some immediately. Give them some oxygen (a half hour in decanter) and serve in Burgundy bowl stems (this is important). All the classic Pinot food combos are in play here, with duck (use orange zest), roast chicken or eye fillet with mushrooms.
As a coincidence, this week’s wine falls in the same week as International Women’s Day, and it did get us reflecting on some powerful woman in our industry. Unfortunately, the wine industry, like many others, has traditionally been a male dominant sector. Though over recent decades there has been a proliferation of talented woman in high level winemaking and sommelier roles balancing this ledger, especially here in Australia. Winemaking and wine service is not an area better suited to either sex, so the concept of being male dominant is absurd. Nevertheless, the industry is a better place to have exciting, passionate and knowledgeable women producing brilliant wines and pulling corks as top sommeliers. Hopefully the ledger continues to head toward a balance. No wine is better or worse because a man or woman made it, but what we enjoy about wines from female winemakers is the genuine lack of ego that goes into producing and promoting them, the careful touch on production and the deep thought into their purpose. Philippa Farr’s wines exemplify this, and for those interested, click through for a list of some of our other favourite Australian female led wineries. If you’d like to source a mix, please just get in touch.
Western Australia - Cullen, Dormilona, Vasse Felix
South Australia - Balnaves, Deviation Road, Wines by KT, Mount Horrocks, Oliver's Taranga
Victoria - Fleet, Sutton Grange, Yarra Yering, Quealy Wines
Tasmania - Holm Oak, Pooley Wines, Stargazer