Lighter reds for Christmas

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir grown in cool climate areas of Australia is making some stunning wines. The cooler regions of the Great Southern in WA, Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and the Adelaide Hills in South Australia are some examples. With its cool climate, long autumn days and mild summers, Tasmania is also producing interesting and structured Pinots. Pinot Noir also does well where there is the cooling influence of the ocean, rivers and altitude. The cool climate allows for more time ripening producing complex layers and a range of flavours and aromas. For this thin skinned grape variety, it needs a long ripening period to reach its potential; the tannins and flavour developing over time. Not only is the climate important but the soil and winemaking technique.

Characteristics of Pinot Noir

The characteristics of Pinot Noir can include beetroot, blackberry, black cherry, cranberry, perfumed and as it ages; barnyard, dark chocolate, earthy, cigar box, clove, hay, nutty and vanilla. There is so much more we could talk about relating to the cool climate regions, the topography, altitude and winemaking styles.  To read more about Pinots and the characteristics read our two blogs; ‘Pinot Noir and cool climate regions’ and ‘A closer look at Pinot’.



Bardolino is a light, bright and fruit driven red wine that is best served chilled found in the north Italian region of Veneto.

The name comes from the town Bardolino which was granted D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) status in 1968. The grapes that normally are included in a Bardolino wine include Molinara, Corvina, Rondinella and Negrara. Up to 15% of the blend may include Rossignola, Barbera, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a white grape variety; Garganega.

Different styles of Bardolino

Different styles of Bardolino include:

  • Bardolino DOC
  • Bardolino Classico DOC
  • Bardolino Superiore DOCG
  • Bardolino Novello DOC
  • Bardolino Chiaretto DOC



Gamay is another lighter red that be served and enjoyed a touch chilled with Christmas dishes. Gamay is the grape variety grown in southern Burgundy, in the wine region of Beaujolais. It is also found just to the north in the Mâconnais. But if you’re looking for ‘Beaujolais’ on the label, you might not see it, instead you’ll see the appellations more prominent on the label (including St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Côte de Brouilly).  Like many grape varieties traditionally grown in France, they are now found in more countries; Switzerland, Oregon and New Zealand. Wine Folly  describes the characteristics as “smell fresh cut violets, iris and peony flowers wrapped in cherry, raspberry and plum with subtle background notes of potting soil.”

Jancis Robinson MW described the wine as “relatively high in acidity and can be light in both colour and tannin, which makes simple Gamays good drinks in their youth, and flattered by being served relatively cool.”

We have a selection of wines from Beaujolais at Swanny Cellars, drop in and have a look!

Red wine in glass

Some of the Pinot Noirs we stock at Swanny Cellars include:

Giant Steps Pinot Noir 2017 (recommended in the spring issue of On the Vine). All fruit is hand-picked and during the winemaking process, there is minimal intervention. The wine is fermented in 4000L open oak vats and stainless steel fermenters using indigenous yeasts with 20% whole bunch and 100% malolactic fermentation. There follows seven months in new and used French oak – 10% new, 90% older then bottling with no filtration. Rod describes this wine as “a smashing drink”. He adds, “Don’t worry about the lightness of colour, there’s a wealth of cherry and rhubarb, a good length of palate and moderating acid to finish.”

Click here to read about this wine in the spring issue of On the Vine


Stoney Rise Pinot Noir 2016: From cool climate Tasmania and recommended in the spring issue of On the Vine, Rod explains; “Here’s another drink-soon pinot. It’s a little quiet on the nose with gentle red berries but evolves on the palate with full juicy fruit flavours, dried herbs, earthiness and good structure. Magical wine with pink duck breast and a sweet berry sauce.”

Click here to read about this wine in the spring issue of On the Vine.


Rabbit Ranch Pinot Noir 2016: Sourced from cool climate Central Otago. We love the story behind this label, apparently the owner named “Mr. MacGregor” tried to reduce the huge rabbit population by selling rabbit pies but was unsuccessful. So instead he planted vines and a good Pinot Noir to accompany the rabbit pies he was eating. We don’t know how well Pinot goes with this type of pie, but we enjoy it with other dishes.

Click here for more information.


Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir 2016 from Martinborough:

The fruit is hand-picked and all is de-stemmed with as much whole berry as possible intact. There follows 2 to 6         days pre-fermentation maceration. With the indigenous yeast fermentations, it is hand plunged and it then goes through malolactic fermentation in barrel. After nine   months in French oak (20% new), it is bottled and sent across the waters to us! The Ata Rangi founder Clive Paton is an avid conservationist so the name ‘Crimson’ is named after Project Crimson, which is an established Charitable Conservation Trust aimed at saving two red-flowering native trees; the rata and the pohutukawa, also known  as “Christmas tree.” Sales of this wine help to raise awareness of this project and the money from the sale goes towards community  planting projects.

Click here for more details about the wine.

Wine bottle and glass made by corks

Kooyong Massale Pinot Noir 2017: Sourced from estate grown Pinot Noir parcels from two vineyards in the Mornington Peninsula, the fruit is handpicked.

The fruit is fermented in open vats which started spontaneously with ambient yeasts and lasted for 16 to 18 days. Then the wine underwent indigenous malolactic fermentation with 11 months maturation in French oak barriques (8% new) and large format foudre. The wine was bottled with no fining and with minimal filtration.

Click here for the full technical sheet.


Greywacke Pinot Noir 2015: All fruit was grown in Marlborough’s Southern Valleys and mainly from the Yarrum Vineyard situated on the Brancott / Ben Morven ridge. After the grapes were hand-harvested and chilled overnight, they were hand sorted. Then a large majority of fruit was de-stemmed into open-top fermenters, the majority of which also had a percentage of whole-bunch inclusion. The fruit was left to soak on skins before indigenous yeast fermentation and there followed daily plunging. The wine was pressed after fermentation then racked and filled to French oak barriques (40% new). For 18 months, individual clones were separately aged in barrel before being blended in December. In tank, the wine was lightly fined with egg whites, then bottled in March 2017.

Click here for the full technical sheet.


Picnic by Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2017: Another Pinot Noir sourced from Central Otago, the fruit was hand-picked with 95% de-stemmed and 5-7 days pre-fermentation cold maceration. After the indigenous fermentation, the wine then spends another 5-7 days post on skins. Wine is then matured in 1-4 year old French medium toast barriques for a 10 months before racking and bottling.

Click here for the full technical sheet.


Two Paddocks Estate Pinot Noir 2017: This wine is described as the flagship from Two Paddocks. It is an organically grown barrel selection from the estate properties.  The fruit is sourced form the four Neill family Central Otago vineyards where the small sites are high-density planted in a range of clonal material cropped to under 5 tonne per hectare. Traditional methods are used in the winemaking process with 25% whole bunch fermentation, indigenous fermentation and hand plunging. There follows maturation is in French barriques for 10 months, with older and new (20%) barrels.

Click here for the full technical sheet.


 Journey Pinot Noir 2017: This wine is sourced from two sites; 79% from Lone Star Creek – Woori Yallock in the Upper Yarra Valley with its deep red volcanic soil over clay and 21% from Willowlake – Gladysdale in the, Upper Yarra Valley comprising of clay loam soil.

After the fruit was handpicked, 80% was destemmed, with 20% whole bunches included in open fermenters ranging from 1 – 4 tonnes in capacity. There followed wild yeast fermentation. The cap was gently hand plunged and also pumped over once per day during the peak of fermentation. The wine was pressed and transferred to barrel after an average of 14 days on skins. Maturation in barrel for 9 months with 20% of the oak being new French barriques with the remainder in older French barriques. Maturation in oak lasted for around 9 months. Then the wine was bottled on 19th January earlier this year.

Click here for the full technical sheet.


 Mac Forbes Pinot Noir 2017: The fruit is sourced Coldstream, Woori Yallock, Yarra Junction, Seville, Wesburn and Hoddles Creek vineyards in the Yarra Valley. The fruit is all hand-picked then there is 10% whole bunch fermentation and a portion foot stomped as well as hand plunged in open fermenters. Indigenous yeasts are used during fermentation. There follows 6-30 days on skins with 11 months maturation in oak with no filtration or fining before bottling.

 Click here for the full technical sheet.


 Singlefile Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018: Pinot Noir seems to thrive down here in the Pemberton region. The fruit is sourced from Singlefile’s

Eastbrook vineyard. After the fruit was picked, it was gently de-stemmed and then cold soaked for 6 days. A parcel was barrel fermented and underwent natural fermentation in new oak with the remainder going into small open fermenters and then to used oak. After this, the wine spent nine months in Francois Frères and Taransaud pinot selection French oak barriques, 40% new, the remainder one and two years old.

Click here for the full technical sheet.


 Babich Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017: Grown from Babich’s estate-owned vineyards in Marlborough, after the fruit was machine harvested and de-stemmed, traditional winemaking techniques followed. This included fermentation with wild and inoculated ferments, malolactic fermentation and 7 months of maturation. Fining and filtration before bottling.

Click here for the full technical sheet.


Swanny Cellars is a big supporter of these wines. Drop in or call us about the range these wines!


Merry Christmas from Swanny Cellars

Leave a Comment?