The grapes to produce the Pinot Noir Irrewarra were hand-picked and sorted in the vineyard, then destemmed and cold soaked for four days in an oak open-top fermenter. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts lasted 19 days, with gentle pigeage two to three times a day. The wine was then fed by gravity into French oak barrels; 1/3 new, 1/3 one-year-old, and 1/3 two-year-old, where it underwent malolactic fermentation and matured for 18 months prior to bottling.
Irrewarra’s vineyard was planted in 2001 at the top of a north-facing slope. The soils across the slope of the site are a mixture of grey sandy clay loams at the south end to dark brown loams with gravel top soils toward the north. This site is exposed to the elements and receives a high amount of rainfall throughout the year with 885mm annually. Due to the wet climate and the clay profile of the site, the soils remain very moist throughout the year, contributing to the wine’s distinctive cool-fruit profiles. The vineyard is currently working toward organic certification and is farmed using sustainable practices.
Irrewarra is a winemaking project by Nick Farr, who is known for his exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at By Farr in Geelong. This time, Nick has sought out a new frontier in Western Victoria, near the small town of Irrewarra (150 kilometres west of Melbourne). The name Irrewarra, an Aboriginal term meaning ‘long spear throw’, is a nod to the traditional hunting and farming country found here. Cows, sheep, wheat, hay and woodland abound, and the region is characterised by lakes, volcanic plains and marshland. Irrewarra’s small three hectare vineyard was planted in 2001 by John and Bronwyn Calvert, who run a renowned sourdough bakery in the town. It is predominantly planted with Pinot Noir, with just under one hectare of Chardonnay. The vineyard sits at the top of a slope facing large water reserves to the north. This beautiful agrarian landscape is exposed to the elements and receives a high amount of rainfall throughout the year: 750mm annually compared to 550mm in Geelong. This extra rainfall is important at Irrewarra, falling over a greater number of months compared to the drier summer months in Geelong. The soils tend to remain very moist due to their high clay content and thus contribute to the wines’ distinctive cool-fruit profiles.