William Downie (Bill) established his own label in 2003 after working between Australia and Burgundy for several years as a winemaker. Based at Guendulain Farm, near Yarragon, Victoria, Bill makes Pinot Noir from four different sites, along with a few other varieties here and there under his other label, Save Our Souls.
Bill’s wines emphasise purity, time and place, and what you see across his entire range is that the wines taste of where they come from. In an uninhibited fashion, you can taste the saline minerality of the Mornington Peninsula through to the dense, rich, chocolatey clay of the Yarra. The grape varietal (Pinot Noir) becomes less of the focus and more the vehicle for the wine from the vineyard to the glass. It’s also fair to say that without Bill, Wine Diamonds New Zealand would not exist.
Guendulain Farm is Bill’s family home and vineyard that he shares with wife Rachel and their three kids. Guendulain Farm was planted around 2012 with mostly Pinot Noir and some Gouais at a vine density of 20,000 vines per hectare on a steep slope. The vineyard has been spray free since inception, the vines are staked rather than trellised, and all work in the vineyard is done either by hand or by horse. The wine they produce from this vineyard has an energy and purity to it that I have not seen in anything else. Just a few hundred bottles are produced every year, we receive just twelve.
Annual production: 1,500 cases
Gippsland, Victoria, Australia