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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

Some of Australia's leading Pinot Noir producers have come together to promote the variety in a country weaned on Shiraz and Cabernet'. Tod Dexter of Stonier Wines was in London recently to conduct a tutored tasting at the Association of Wine Educators' (AWE) seminar on Australian Pinot Noir. He said Pinot South was an initiative by five recognised Pinot producers - Diamond Valley (Yarra Valley), Freycinet (Tasmania), Nepenthe (Adelaide Hills), Scotchmans Hill (Geelong) and Stonier (Mornington Crescent) - to add to the education and understanding of the complexities of Pinot Noir'. Asked by AWE president Charles Metcalfe whether they would like to make a premier cru', Dexter said: We are not trying to make Burgundy; we are trying to make Australian Pinot Noir. We have all gone to Burgundy, it's like a pilgrimage, but increasingly they are coming to us.' Metcalfe acknowledged: Burgundy produces masterpieces, but it also produces a lot of crap,' to which Dexter added: We have got to look at great Burgundy, but it is the top of the pyramid, only one or two per cent. I think New World [Pinot] can be more consistent - or are we kidding ourselves?' The response from the seminar was: No, definitely not'. On terroir Down Under, Dexter, who is UC Davis- and Roseworthy-trained and the ex-winemaker at Cakebread and Brown Brothers, said: I believe in the concept of terroir, but not in terms of a patch of dirt. It is not just the soil, but trellising, canopy management, clonal selection and the winemaker's attitude.'