Wine Hunter

From the Cellar: Bicknell FC Pinot Noir 2014

Dave Bicknell is a bloke I grew up with during my many years making wine in the Yarra Valley. As a mate and a fellow winemaker, Dave and I shared more than a couple of headaches over the years. Our families grew up together for the first five years before I took off for the bright lights of a marketing career in New York. Dave, who was never going to much else but make the best wine he possibly could, stayed in the Yarra.

In fact, Dave, over the last 10-15 years has been recognised as one of Australia’s best. He has won more trophies and awards than most, and at home in the Yarra he is the King of Chardonnay. As head winemaker at Oakridge for more years than I can remember, Dave laid the path for the new generation of Aussie Chardonnays which have blazed their way through global wine critics.

dave and nicky

Dave Bicknell and Nicky Harris.

Dave and Nicky, his very patient partner and a veteran grape grower, decided several years ago to make a little wine on the side. The trouble with that was, when you’re Dave Bicknell, everyone is watching. Soon enough (and unsurprisingly) Dave’s wines were getting 95 , 96, 97 points from James Halliday, and then in 2015 Dave won Best New Winemaker for Bicknell FC, his side Project.

bottle of pinot noir

Bicknell FC , Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley. Image: United Cellars

Dave’s wine is the perfect reflection of the high slopes of the Yarra (upper Yarra). These sites butt up against The Snowy Mountains and are the real cool climate sites. His wines tease you with their complexity, starting out with a real youthfulness but ending with a rather tense drop that has a backbone of Upper Yarra acidity, and yet the purity of the fruit stands tall. As they age they move into being wines with a more calm and balanced character.

His Chardonnays are of course very hard to find as they sell out so quickly, but I think his Pinot Noir is well worth noting and searching out too. The 2014 Pinot Noir is a medium bodied wine full of complexity. It opens up when poured into the glass, moving from strawberry and dark cherry aromas, and smells reminding me of the undergrowth in a rain forest paired with clove spice. There is a silky texture which drives the savour flavours of Pinot Noir long into your thoughts as the you enjoy every drop.

I opened this wine when I had brought home some BBQ pork and duck from my local Chinese Cantonese BBQ shop.

Yep, good move James.

Try the 2015 Bicknell FC Pinot Noir here.

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