Gembrook Hill Single Vineyard 2018
We have a couple of very special Pinot Noirs from the Yarra Valley’s Gembrook Hill to share with you today. They are special for a couple of reasons. As many of you may know the highly regarded Ian Marks sadly passed away in 2017 and Timo Mayer who had long made the wines with Ian and Andrew also moved to Bloody Hill to focus on his own wines. This marked the end of an era at Gembrook, but also the start of a new one. Andrew, as he puts it, crafted the inaugural I.J.M in 2017 as a ‘visceral reaction’ to his father’s passing. One year on and with an exceptional vintage in his sights, he decided to pair the wine with a second single vineyard release dedicated to his mother June. The J.K.M was born.
This pair of wines in 2018 are of course special releases because they mean something important to the Marks family, but when I tasted these last week I realized these were two wines that were special period.
The 2018 I.J.M is stunningly ethereal and beautiful wine of calm confidence. Delicately perfumed with a luscious but fine character that caresses the palate and a drapes filigree tannin in its wake. It’s contemplative wine of immense class, think Anthony Hopkins not Al Pacino.
The 2018 J.K.M is comparison has a little more swagger in its step. There’s some whole bunch here and a splash of new oak, though all applied thoughtfully. It is a little punchier on the palate than the I.J.M with poached rhubarb and strawberries getting a pinch of spice and a smattering of herbs. There’s more structure here as well, wiry but not brawny, with some grip as it slides along the palate. This is very good as well. Perhaps the Jodie Foster? My analogy will fall apart somewhere I’m sure.
These are two remarkable wines that deliver two different, but equally exciting, experiences in the glass. There is a lot for Pinotphiles to love here and I would argue that despite your preference for a style, it would be a missed opportunity to not pick up both wines to compare and contrast.