I read up on Australian wines and found a vineyard called Bass Philip… They were touted to have some of the more expensive Pinots in Australia and also the hardest to come by… one vine produces only half a bottle of wine.
Before our summer trip to Australia, my husband started a fascination for Pinots. Particularly American Pinots grown in Oregon. He stared buying up one or two bottles a week and found that they were much easier to drink (Read: less heavy and less of a wine hangover) than our usual Cabs. It was much easier to finish a whole bottle by ourselves.
I grew up spending my summers in Australia, as my mom’s family is all there. It was only in college when I started tasting wines my uncle would open at dinner. I wasn’t very interested then. But here in Manila, I discovered Molly Dooker—they called out to me because of their fun labels and fruity wines. I was keen to find out more about Australian wines. Of course, I knew about Penfolds and their high-end labels, but not much else.
I read up on Australian wines and found a vineyard called Bass Philip. They were touted to have some of the more expensive Pinots in Australia and also the hardest to come by, mostly because of the low yield the vineyard produces. They are believers in quality over quantity—one vine produces only half a bottle of wine. The vineyard is named for George Bass and Admiral Arthur Phillip, and now with founder and winemaker Phillip Jones, who first established the winery in the southeastern corner of Australia in 1979. The vineyard is organic and biodynamic, which is always a plus for me. Even before we left for Sydney, I asked the hotel concierge to find this for me. He said the only place that would have it would be the Australian Wine Center, and that I would have to put an order in for it. When we arrived in Sydney I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Four Seasons was located across the street from the Center!
We bought a few bottles of Bass Philip, but opened the Issan Vineyard one first. The very knowledgable salesman said that if we wanted to get a sense of what Bass Philip is about, this was the bottle to open. We took the bottle up to the club lounge, where they so generously allowed us to open our own bottles everyday. The first thing I noticed about this was its beautiful ruby-red color. It was much more intense than the color I saw in other Pinots. Next, was its long finish. It has the ability to be fruity and flavorful, but still light. So refreshing from the Australian Syrahs that are spicy and heavy, which we had been drinking.
I wonder if my fascination with this wine also stemmed from the fact that I had been hunting it down for about a month before I got my hands on it. Overall, it was good, but I’m sure could develop better given a couple more years. Our friendly salesman did note that ‘Australian wines are meant to be drunk right away,’ but time does everyone and every wine a little good.