Trophy, Winemakers’ Choice: Gilli and Paul Lipscombe, Sailor Seeks Horse.

This tiny vineyard is one of Australia’s most southerly located in the Huon valley in southern Tasmania. Paul and Gilli Lipscombe own the vineyard and make the wines and both have considerable vineyard and winemaking experience behind them including winning the Jimmy Watson trophy for Home Hill where they have been the winemakers in recent years. From working together in the Languedoc to New Zealand, Oregon and Margaret River they spent a lot of time researching and considering the best possible vineyard site with the aim  to produce Australia’s best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay finally settling on this ideal north facing vineyard which is sheltered from the prevailing south-westerly winds. Best described as a warm site within a cool climate, the soil is free-draining quartz inflicted mudstone soil over clay. The vineyard is planted to a large variety of Dijon clones as well as numerous other clones planted by the previous owners and all vineyard work is done as organically as possible. In 2019 a new planting including some Trousseau has been made on the steep north-west facing slope beside the main vineyard block.

So to the name, where does that come from? There was a handwritten sign on the wall at the Red Velvet Lounge in Cygnet, our local coffee and cake respite from the Tasmanian weather. It said, “Sailor Seeks Horse” and went on to explain that the author had sailed solo around the world and ridden across the US from coast to coast and back again…on a mule. He’d then decided he wanted to travel around Tasmania by horse but didn’t have one. So, was there anyone who would lend him one? If they didn’t have a horse then a pony would do. It was an idea that resonated with us. Here we were, trying to do something a little bit crazy, without much money and requiring a little bit of help to get to where we wanted to be.

Older vintages - sold out

2017 Chardonnay
From four Dijon clones (95, 96, 76 & 277) in two sections of the vineyard over 2 hectares in 2010.
'Lots of natural acid, low sugars, a ‘cooler year’ fruit profile and structure. Yields were typically low from the poor flowering and dry end to the season. In the winery we felt like we needed to reduce the acid slightly through about 25% of the barrels going through malolactic fermentation but it still retained that sea-spray character and citrus fruit/floral expression we are seeing consistently in our Chardonnay.' Gilli and Paul Lipscombe, winemakers.

2017 Pinot Noir
The 2017 Pinot Noir reflects the cooler weather and lower yields seen in this vintage. Picking began on the 6th April and ended on the 27th and with average yields (2.9T/ha) it was a pretty easy vintage in terms of being spread out and low in volume. There was no pressure to pick until we thought the fruit was exactly where we wanted it and the ripe stems enabled us to use about 15% whole bunches across various batches (oddly the same as 2016 which was a very warm year). Wild ferments ticked over happily, we pressed off once the tannins aligned and the wine eased through elevage on full lees. We pulled the wine out of barrel the day before filling with the 2018 vintage! It’s a wine that sits comfortably with the 2012, 2013 and 2015 Pinots from our vineyard – poised, complex and structured.
‘Pale but attractive scents, rose hip tea, pot pourri, sour cherry, white pepper. Succulent and fine in the palate, understated and reserved flavours, cool acidity, trim tannins and good length. Feels youthful and tight, seamless and long. A lovely wine this.’ 93+ points, Mike Bennie, Winefront, April 2019

2017 Pinot Noir Huldufolk
Just one barrel of this wine all from MV6 clone from a few rows which were vinified separately and which clearly stood out as head and shoulders from the rest and so was bottled on its own. The name means hidden people in Icelandic and has its origins in 19th century folklore. This certainly is a hidden gem - if you are one of the lucky people to get one of just 277 bottles. In future this label may be used for exceptional parcels of either Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.