Pinot Noir & Clones
Pinot Noir is an ancient grape variety from as far back as the 1st century whose genetics can be traced back to being only once or twice removed from the original ‘wild vines’.
The fascination with this popular variety continues today, as Pinot Noir vines can produce divinely scented and generously fruity expressions of place, yet only when planted on the correct site and cropped at appropriate levels.
Pinot Noir displays a greater propensity for genetic mutation than any other variety. These mutations within Pinot Noir are known as clones. They are sub-varieties that display unique scents and fruit flavours, whilst remaining within the Pinot Noir family. There are over 40 commonly accepted Pinot Noir clones, 15 of which a planted in great num-bers.
It is this diversity within the variety that makes Pinot Noir such a fascinating variety for cool-cli-mate vignerons and winemakers. The initial selec-tion of the correct clone for a certain vineyard site has proven to be a pivotal factor in the ability of the vines to produce wines of quality and distinction.
At Helen’s Hill, they have chosen and planted 8 different clones of Pinot Noir since starting the vineyard in 1997, each different clone was chosen for what was believed would be the best match for differing aspects of their single site in the Yarra Valley. From these clones, they are able to produce three distinctly different ranges of wines.
Ingram Road Pinot Noir, uses a blend of 3 clones, Dijon Clone 115, 777 and a small amount of MV6. Each of these varieties is planted within a single block with a sloped, south-easterly aspect. This block is cropped at moderate levels to produce a lighter style wine. We always co-ferment these clones together, consistently producing a wine that is decidedly aromatic with bright red strawberry and sour cherry fruits and silky tannins.
Helen’s Hill Long Walk Pinot Noir is a blend of majority MV6, Pommard V5 clone and Dijon Clone 115. The “Long Walk” Pinot is sourced from a sloped block of west-facing vines that enjoy afternoon shade through most of the summer. This blend of clones creates a wine that displays earthy tones, gamey character and darker bramble fruits with firmer tannin.
From there Helens Hill dive into their passion for viticulture and Pinot Noir. The Single Clone proj-ect is a display of love for the individuality each separate Pinot clones displays, even from within a Single Vineyard like Helen’s Hill. These are super low cropped and built to last the test of time. Helens Hill currently produce three Single Clone Reserve Pinot Noirs.
Helen's Hill First Light Reserve Pinot Noir
Yarra Valley, VIC
‘First Light’ is 100% MV6 clones. MV6 or Mother Vine 6, is known affectionately as the ‘Australian’ Pinot noir clone and is planted abundantly throughout cool climate regions in Australia. First light Pinot is sourced from a single block of vines planted in 1983, well before the rest of our vineyard.
These old MV6 vines display the typical fruit characters the clone is known for, deep cherry and dark strawberry characters with hints of spice. Firm tannins but more back palate orientated. The MV6 clone has a savoury tone to its flavour profile. Dried fruits, herbs and spice. An elegant and complex nose and palate.