Discover the La Maison Pinot Noir with Liam McElhinney

Discover the La Maison Pinot Noir with Liam McElhinney

With the recent award of the prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy, we speak to Chief Winemaker Liam McElhinney about the Lowestoft icon: the La Maison Pinot Noir.

What do you believe sets the La Maison wines apart from other premium Tasmanian Pinot Noir?

The La Maison Pinot Noir is made from 100% Lowestoft Estate fruit. It just has the x-factor. The fruit from this historic site continues to produce wines of amazing quality and intrigue, despite the seasonal conditions that may prevail. It’s like nothing I’ve ever worked with before.

What was the initial intention behind the La Maison style?

Our aim was to frame the site and showcase the purity and the essence of the Lowestoft vineyard. We really wanted to craft something that could set a new benchmark for Australian Pinot Noir, which I think we have achieved!

Taking into account vintage variation, has the wine style changed as the releases have gone on?

We’ve tried very hard to stay true to style, and let the fruit do the talking. Picking date is the most critical in trying to capture the fruit at its absolute best. Some vintages we do have to fine tune some aspects of the fermentation, oak regime and final blending, but I think when you line up the 2020, 2021 and 2022 wines, you can see the vineyard 'DNA' shining through.

What do you think is so special about the Lowestoft vineyard?

I’ve been trying to figure this out over the past 4 years… and I have come to the conclusion that it just has the x-factor. Nice old vines planted in pretty poor soils on the banks of the mighty Derwent River all combine to give a vineyard like no other I have seen.

The vines are grown on a split lyre system, which allows for high density planting of around 8,333 vines per hectare producing super concentrated flavour. 

Local viticulture icon Fred Peacock and his amazing team manage the vineyard. I’ve never seen such care and attention to detail as these guys give Lowestoft. 

What clone is the La Maison Pinot Noir?

Do you know what? We don’t really know for sure! Our vines came from the original Moorilla vineyard across the road and it’s lovingly referred to as the Moorilla mix in Tasmania!

What is the biggest challenge for you when making this wine?

Where to start! Getting the grapes off the vine before the weather turns to custard, ensuring the ferments behave... The list goes on! Each year it's a real labour of love to bring the La Maison wine to where it is in the bottle, and it's all worth it when you have such a special wine at the end. 

Shop our La Maison wines online here.

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