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Wednesday 3 July 2024

Astutely-judged pinot noirs from a micro producer

Back in August 2005 I was contacted by Kevin Bell and Tricia Byrnes from a start-up wine business called Hurley Vineyard at Balnarring on the Mornington Peninsula.

I was writing a wine column for the Sun-Herald in Sydney at the time and they were looking for suggestions for possible outlets for their first vintage.

Five Way Cellars purchased three cases, I recall; their first Sydney order.

I didn't know it, but Kevin Bell was at that time a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria. He was promoted to the Office of the Order of Australia in the 2024 King's Birthday Honours List. 

Byrnes was a distinguished legal practitioner, now a barrister and nationally accredited mediator at the Victorian Bar.

I thought then that their Burgundy-inspired pinot noir wines, made in minute quantities, were outstanding.

For two decades now I have been lucky enough to follow their vinous journey. And I'm pleased to report their 2022 vintage releases still charm and beguile.

The bad news is that the trio of 2022 releases has already sold out at cellar door. The good news is that some is still available in retail land. 

The 2022 releases are the Hurley Vineyard 2022 Lodestone Pinot Noir ($110), the Hurley Vineyard 2022 Hommage Pinot Noir ($110), and the Hurley Vineyard 2022 Garamond Pinot Noir ($130). 

No estate blend was released for this vintage but the three wines all reflect Bell and Byrnes' obsession attention to detail and quality. Quite how they find the time I do not know. 

In previous years my favourite has wavered between the Hommage and the Garamond, but this time around it was the super-smooth Lodestone that most took my fancy with its minerality and completeness. 

The velvety Hommage is tighter knit and potentially longer lived, while the Garamond is the most complex of the trio, a little bit of a show off in its youth. 

All three wines are definitely Burgundian accented, however, with intensity matched by purity and balance.  

The new releases are the 22nd vintage from vines that are 24 years old (with the exception of a  small part of Lodestone that is 18 years old). 251 cases were made of each of the Hommage and Lodestone and 277 dozen of the Garamond.

"Vintage 2022 was outstanding in quality and small in quantity," Bell reports, which suggests speed might be crucial for would-be buyers.

For details see  


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