About Bass Phillip Wines
The wines of Bass Phillip are endowed with vibrant fruit and considerable delicacy, and evolve and develop dramatically with aeration in a swirling glass or decent decanting. They are never excessive in tannins or alcohol in their youth, and with age, they blossom gracefully to develop an intensity of flavour in the finish framed by strong minerality and natural acidity. Countless tales vouch for how Bass Phillip Pinot Noirs improve in the cellar, sometimes for well over twenty years.
Drinking an aged Bass Phillip pinot is a transcendental experience a dedicated wine lover must experience to fathom just how special these wines are. Immense, soil driven complexity, deliciousness and seemingly endless ageability are compelling reasons why many Pinot connoisseurs consider them legends.
The three wines at the top of the Bass Phillip hierarchy — the Estate, Premium and Reserve Pinot Noirs — have always come from the same original 1979 main vineyard in Leongatha: a 3.5-hectare block, known as the Estate vineyard. Within this vineyard the same rows of vines and sub-plots are used for each of these wines every year, purely because those vines give the best grapes, year after year.
Bass Phillip’s first Pinot Noir was made in 1984, and the first commercial release, comprising the 1985 to 1989 vintages, took place in 1991. The 1989 vintage was the first in which the Reserve, Premium and Estate Pinot Noirs were separately vinified, following five years’ worth of research into the separate vattings, which involved numerous small-batch fermentation trials
Bass Phillip Reserve Pinot Noir
The intense and exquisitely balanced Bass Phillip Reserve Pinot Noir is derived from a remarkably low-yielding vineyard of just 9000 vines per hectare and 270 grams of fruit per vine. Anchored in deep mineral soils renowned for producing particularly intense and concentrated fruit, the Reserve Pinot Noir is primarily based on five rows of MV6 heritage clones, colonial vine stock material first imported to Australia by James Busby in 1832.
The balanced acidity and energy in the wine reflect a perfect tension between soil composition, cooler temperatures during the growing season and the relatively high humidity of South Gippsland. The wine is a brilliant example of Australian terroir, where the signatures of the vineyard site and winemaker bring profound results.
Natural balance and optimum flavour development are a key focus and are achieved through minimal intervention winemaking. The vineyard management at Bass Phillip has been organic since 1993 and biodynamic since 2002. The Reserve Pinot Noir is unfiltered and matured in new Allier oak for up to 20 months.
Typically this wine possesses an extraordinary multi-dimensional experience with superb fruit density and beautiful silken tannins. Expect evolution in the glass, with aromas of pure, dark cherries, red plums and cranberries, before transforming into frankincense, wood varnish and gardenias. These are typical descriptors for this great, beautifully crafted Australian Pinot Noir.
Bass Phillip Premium Pinot Noir
The idiosyncratic, biodynamic and greatly admired Bass Phillip Premium Pinot Noir, aged in French Allier barriques for 18 months, is a defining Victorian pinot noir. Uplifting and memorable, this multi-layered and nuanced wine reflects a superb obsession, based on a low-cropping, four-hectare vineyard site at Leongatha. Black cherry, floral and game aromas, supple viscosity and underlying toasty oak. This wine is long in flavour, powerful & complex. It can be cellared for many years.
Bass Phillip Estate Pinot Noir
From the original Estate vineyard; 8,500 vines/hectare; specific plot cropping at approx. one tonne/acre, often blended with the best fruit from our Leongatha Vineyard. Wine with attractive, rich fruits in the mid-palate, with the strength to improve up to ten years in the cellar. Bottled without fining or filtration.
The exquisitely balanced single vineyard Estate Pinot Noir draws fruit from the extremely low cropping, closely spaced north easterly facing, four hectare un-irrigated vineyard. The wine is vinified in an open stainless steel fermenter with regular plunging to extract colour and flavour. After fermentation the wine is gravity racked into a combination of new (60%) and old French Alliers oak for a maturation period of around 15 to 18 months.
Bass Phillip Premium Chardonnay
Less than one acre, planted since 1979. This section of the vineyard is more than 40 years old today , it has started to deliver complex nuances and has a very long-flavour, lingers cleanly on your palate. Typically, the wine has a fully integrated, complex blend of stone fruits , nuts and soft oak, riding on top of a balanced acidic backbone. It has very good depth and breadth on the palate, some nuttiness alongside the stone fruit flavours. Builds on the finish, complex and thought-provoking. Meant to age 10 years or more.
Bass Phillip Estate Chardonnay
This is grown at Leongatha South, South Gippsland, Victoria. Bass Phillip uses close planting, extremely low cropping, no toxic chemicals, & natural winemaking. We respect the forces of nature, driven by the Moon, the Planets, and the Earth. This wine always has intensity, full natural acidity and great length. It will develop over the next eight years plus. Normally Estate chardonnay was matured in approximately 20% new oak. It has aromas of Lifted citrus & stone fruit. Well balanced, vibrant fruit and great acid structure. Subtle notes of toasty oak underlay, creating a well rounded palate.
Bass Phillip Crown Prince Pinot Noir
Crown Prince are typically easy drinking Pinot Noirs with sweet plum fruits, softness and balance. These wines always have the characteristic regional “palate length”.
Our Crown Prince wines come from the Leongatha vineyard; planted in 1996 this vineyard shows regional typicity and also supplies fruit for the Estate wines. This wine comes from the major part of the Leongatha vineyard. This wine is all about spice and long tangy flavour. More gentle in fruits, but rather complex: easy drink which readily matches with all manner of dishes, glass-after-glass! Cellaring for two or three years will improve it
Other notable Bass Phillip Wines
Bass Phillip Gamay
Bass Phillip Pinot Rosé
Bass Phillip Gewurztraminer
Bass Phillip Issan Vineyard Pinot Noir
Bass Phillip Old Cellar Pinot Noir
Bass Phillip Old Cellar Chardonnay
Bass Phillip Nebbiolo
James Halliday’s Vintage Chart from 1987 to 2017 on Victoria, Gippsland
Information courtesy of winecompanion.com.au