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High Points And Direct Import Prices On A Need-To-Know Estate - 03/01/2017 - Australia

Unquestionably one of the most exciting direct import finds we’ve made of late is Helen's Hill Winery in Australia’s Yarra Valley. Focusing on single vineyard expressions of Pinot Noir, the wines from this remarkable estate are not only gorgeously appointed, but also offer tremendous value. Earning scores of 94 points and up and all priced under $25, they have some of the best price-to-point ratios currently in the market. Offered here is the entry level "Ingram's Road" which sells for a mere $14.99, as well as reserve bottlings from specific vineyard blocks and clones. For Fans of Pinot, these are a can’t miss opportunity.

Our Assistant Head Buyer, David Driscoll, recently visited the estate and was absolutely awestruck by the quality of the wines. Being terroir driven efforts, it’s easy to see why parallels to the famed Burgundy regions of Pommard and Volany are so apropos. Fresh, bright, juicy and expressive they show the heartier side of Pinot Noir while at the same time revealing subtle underpinnings of earth and spice. Made in a very approachable style they are a delight to drink now and will continue to develop over the next five to ten years. To learn more about these outstanding values be sure to check out David’s On The Trail blog post.

Vintage Item Name Score Qty Retail Link
2015 Helen's Hill Winery "Ingram's Road" Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Victoria 94 >100 $14.99 View
2013 Helen's Hill Estate "Old Block Reserve - MV6 Clone" Pinot Noir 96 >100 $24.99 View
2013 Helen's Hill Winery "Range View Reserve - Pommard Clone" Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Victoria 96 >100 $24.99 View


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2015 Helen's Hill Winery "Ingram's Road" Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Victoria ($14.99)

94 points James Halliday: "Once again it applies the blowtorch to the value equation. It's varietal, complex-enough and quite exquisitely well composed. Its like a set of well-chosen words. Sweet-sour cherry, cranberry, dried herbs, sap. Oak aids texture and polish more than flavour, though oak spice through the finish is hard to resist. The words fleshy and fresh are apt here." (01/2015)

90 points Bob Campbell: "Good depth and hue of colour, the wine sweetly ripe and clean, fragrant and attractive in bouquet and flavour. The palate has weight and depth, good soft tannins in abundance, and charmingly aromatic red cherry and floral nuances. (HH - The Real Review)" (12/2016)

K&L Notes: 90 points Wine Front: "Helen’s Hill and it’s Ingram Road label are low-key but always worthy of investigation. The wines are routinely very good, or better. Prices are reasonable too. This release is for quaffing now - and for that, it’s just the ticket. It’s juicy, perfumed, adorned with red cherry and strawberry flavour, and laced with spice/undergrowth. Essentially though it’s just juicy and fragrant and good tuck into. Not too heavy/not too light/accessible form and flavour.

Staff ImageRyan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 07, 2017

Back in stock and even more delicious than before! This is a rockin' deal in Yarra Pinot Noir. The second label of our Direct Import partner Helen's Hill - this estate grown wine delivers more at $15 than many Pinots at twice that price. Juicy, dark red fruits, warm earth, truffle, a lick of exotic spice. It has such a silky texture on the palate from the exceptional growing conditions of the 2015 vintage. This wine is super quaffable on its own but also has great natural acidity that makes it very versatile and food friendly. This wine sold out very fast on our previous Helen's Hill offering...luckily the winery held us back some cases so we can now offer it again.

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 27, 2017

I've seen great pinots from the southern hemisphere for under twenty bucks over the last year, but not estate-grown pinot noirs. The fruit at Helen's Hill is meticulously cared for by Allan Halder, a guy who is as passionate about viticulture as anyone I've ever met. The Ingram pinot is not only full of pure pinot flavor, it's fresh and lively on the palate in a way that I wish more Bourgogne rouge value options were. If you're looking for that great bottle of village level Burgundy but don't feel like spending $20+ for an unknown, this is as close to a sure thing as I've ever seen at K&L. I'm thrilled to be working directly with Helen's Hill and I think were on the verge of something very big with this initial release.

Staff ImageKirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 24, 2017

Cherries, wild strawberries, subtle spice with a lovely dusting of earth on the nose. Round ripe fruits greet you immediately on the palate, all ripe red berries. A dusting of oak and spice on a clean and easy finish. Way more expressive than any CA Pinot at the same price point.

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2013 Helen's Hill Estate "Old Block Reserve - MV6 Clone" Pinot Noir ($24.99)

96 points James Halliday: "MV6 clone, hand-picked and sorted, matured for 14 months in French barriques (40% new). Bright, clear crimson; a highly expressive bouquet with gently spiced red fruit and flower aromas; superfine, elegant and long, red cherry to the fore, it has made light work of the new oak, the lingering finish mouthwatering and fresh. This is Volnay, silky, supple and seductive." (02/2016)

K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "Our single clone Reserve Pinot Noir range will take the vineyard and wine selection process to the next level. The best way to describe it is "more" of everything. More work in the vineyard in terms of row, vine and right the way down to individual bunch selection. A little more new oak. More time in barrel. An even more rigorous tasting process. More time in bottle before release. About the only thing that we don’t do is more winemaking. Our reserve wines still have the "less is more" approach and ensure that we live up to our ethos of delivering Mother Nature to your mouth. Made entirely from the MV6 clone, our Old Block Reserve Pinot Noir truly reflects the unique characteristics of Australia’s very own Pinot Noir clone. MV stands for Mother Vine - the original vines were propagated from cuttings from the famed Clos Vougeot vineyard in France’s Burgundy region. The vines in the old block were planted in 1980, they are old and gnarly which means that they are by nature low yielding and consistently express both varietal and terroir characteristic’s with the minimum of fuss. In terms of flavour profile, the MV6 clone is famous for the deep cherry and dark strawberry characters with hints of spice. Firm tannins but more back palate orientated. The MV6 clone has a more savoury tone to its flavour profile. Dried fruits, herbs and spice. A more elegant and complex nose and palate."

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 27, 2017

The deep, rich, slightly savory nose on this Pinot Noir hits you right away and provides a great example of how expressive this grape can be. This refined wine from Helen's Hill gives a rare and unique glimpse into what a single clone of Pinot Noir can taste like, as many other wineries blend clones before they get to bottle. It is round and rich on the palate, but the minerality and acidity elevate those flavors and create brightness to the dark fruit and earthy elements. This Pinot is slightly broody and has layers of complexity not always present in a single clone. This is truly an incredible value for such a high-end Pinot. For a fun tasting night, pick up a bottle of Helen's Hill Range View to compare single clones side by side.

Staff ImageRyan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 27, 2017

Such a cool wine. I could spend half an hour with this wine without even taking a sip. The nose is constantly changing a taking on new dimensions. It's earthy, gamey - then spicy and floral, shape shifting with each swirl. On the palate the wine is quite savory. Dusty fruits, smoked meat, some blood or iron notes. With time and air more dark rose petal aromas emerge and the fruit takes on some more density and richness. The mineral laden finish is long and intriguing, dry and moreish. It's almost like you can sense the vine's intimate relationship with this place and they are more interested in speaking of earth than of fruit. I'd love to put this in a Burgundy tasting and see how many people it fools.

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 27, 2017

I was lucky enough to visit Helen's Hill this past February on my trip to Australia and I was absolutely blown away by the operation and the incredible commitment to quality in the vineyards there. Tasting the 2013 Helen's Hill "Old Block Reserve" with Allan back at the winery was a memorable experience because I have to admitI thought he may have been pulling my leg by doing a little switcharoo with a bottle of Burgundy. I couldn't believe how Burgundian the wine tasted. It wasn't the bright or juicy style of pinot noir I had been tasting throughout my other appointments in the Yarra. It tasted much more like Volnay with subdued fruit, hints of earth and forest floor, with grittier tannins on the finish. I honestly couldn't believe it was Australiannot because I didn't think Australian pinot noir could be that delicious, but because I didn't think these types of wines existed outside the Côte d'Or.

Staff ImageKirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 24, 2017

A dark, broad, deep and brooding nose on this one. Earth, spice and forest floor with subdued dark cherry notes. But Clean! It is something that I didn't realize that I was missing until you find it! Structured on the palate, with tannins and acid that grab and lead you down a delightful trail of earthy, spicy Pinot goodness. The tannins are super fine and polished, friendly but persistent. The acid has just the right amount of bite to it all of which is supported by cool dark fruits. The longer it is opened the more expressive they become. One of my new favorites.

Staff ImageDavid Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 22, 2017

Wow! I said out loud on first nosing. This incredible juicy open and refreshing Pinot is one of the most drinkable $25 Pinot I've come across in years. The nose is fragrant with hibiscus, bright red cherry, and clean as a whistle. On the palate medium acidity keeps it juicy as can be, reminding me of the most quaffable Burgundian at about half the price. Maybe it could Fixin or Aloxe-Corton, but at this price you'd never guess it. A fabulous wine for those who really want to easy drinking Pinot with out the headache.

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2013 Helen's Hill Winery "Range View Reserve - Pommard Clone" Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Victoria ($24.99)

96 points James Halliday: "Pommard clone, hand-picked and sorted, matured for 14 months in French barriques (40% new). Clear, deep crimson-purple hue; dark berry and plum aromas flow seamlessly into a perfectly proportioned palate, fruit, oak and fine-grained tannins all making a contribution to a complex pinot batting well above its 12.8% alcohol. Terroir imposes its will on clones, but if the Old Block recalls Volnay, this wine has its feet firmly planted in Pommard." (02/2016)

K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "Our single clone Reserve Pinot Noir range will take the vineyard and wine selection process to the next level. The best way to describe it is "more" of everything. More work in the vineyard in terms of row, vine and right the way down to individual bunch selection. A little more new oak. More time in barrel. An even more rigorous tasting process. More time in bottle before release. About the only thing that we don’t do is more winemaking. Our reserve wines still have the "less is more" approach and ensure that we live up to our ethos of delivering Mother Nature to your mouth. Helen’s Hill "Range View" Reserve Pinot Noir is made entirely from the Pommard clone and captures the highly acclaimed attributes of this wonderful Pinot Noir clone. Planted as the name would suggest close to the top of Helen’s Hill with commanding views of the Yarra Ranges, the soil type is predominantly loamy clay on a limestone/ironstone base. The vines are fairly exposed to general weather conditions but are planted on the east face of the hill so are somewhat protected to summer’s hot afternoon sun. In our opinion the perfect site for this "big" Pinot Noir clone. In terms of flavour profile, the Pommard clone is famous for the firm, powerful and dusty tannins. It is a hard push to say they are elegant; a more appropriate descriptor would be powerful. Meaty flavours of smoke and game, earthy characters with notes of soil, with red fruits and darker plum notes."

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 27, 2017

What an amazing example of what the Pinot Noir grape can be when tended to with such care and pride. The Range View offers every note you would expect of a high-end Pinot. It's rich and expressive without being overly ripe or heavy. The front of palate acidity evolves into a velvety mouthfeel in the back palate and the succulent red fruits blaze throughout. This wine is both bright and full, while maintaining it's elegance and subtlety. What a treat to be able to offer it at this price to our customers as a direct import. For a fun tasting night, pick up a bottle of Helen's Hill Old Block Pinot Nior to compare single clones side by side.

Staff ImageRyan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 27, 2017

After hearing about the Helen's Hill wines for a few years I'm so stoked to be able to offer these to you as a direct import. Alan's dedication to quality and authenticity is a thread running through all of their wines. The analogy that came to mind while tasting the wines was that of a raw diamond or gold nugget just pulled from the earth. There is a precious purity to these wines but they are still very much stained with earth from whence they came. They capture the essence of Pinot Noir and it's magnificent transparency. The Range View is slightly wild with red fruits, briary notes, undergrowth and freshly turned earth. It's savory acidity harks back to it's burgundian origins. A wine that really evolves in the glass and begs for food. The price belies the quality and depth of this wine.

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 27, 2017

Tasting the 2013 "Range View" at the winery was revelatory because the Pommard clone tasted like actual Burgundian Pommard with blackberry fruit, dusty tannins, and a darker, more brooding profile. I was speechless, to say the least. Not only did the wines show beautifully, they matched exactly the descriptions that Allan had provided earlier in the vineyards based on the clone being used, the growing conditions, and the microclimates in each site. In the case of Helen's Hill, not only are they following the philosophies of Burgundy, they're actually achieving the same results, yet in a much more approachable style that drinks well right out of the bottle.

Staff ImageKirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 24, 2017

High-toned red fruits and berries with lifted spice notes on the nose. The palate is all bright cherries with the faintest dusting of Cacao powder. The abundance of fruit is balanced with light but persisting tannins. The finish is long with lots of sappy fruits and spice. This is just charming, if you like Pinot you have to try this.