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Sarsfield Estate Pinot Noir 2011
Early pioneer Charles Marshall was born in Sydney to convict parents. He discovered an entrance from the ocean into Gippsland lakes where he struck gold. In 1856 Marshall built a store and hotel, transporting stores and passengers aboard his boat, the Sarsfield. The two hectares of vine at Sarsfield, planted between the lakes and wilderness of Victoria's east Gippsland, yield a soft, velvety Pinot of great richness and remarkable depth of flavour.
Hand pruned, hand trained and hand picked, the Sarsfield estate property is more than just grapes. Originally planted in the early nineties, the vines and crop levels are carefully managed to produce Pinot Noir of the highest quality. The favourable microclimes and rich soils form the perfect symbiosis to ripen grapes to perfection, consequently, the quality of Sarsfield is nothing short of world class. Bunches are fermented to small batch, old world winemaking techniques, hand plunged for maximum extraction and treated to a traditional hand operated basket press, followed by an extended maturation in a selection of French oak barriques.
Light to medium, translucent cherry red colour. Rich nose with raspberry, ripe plum and lovely French oak. The palate is full and intense, with plenty of ripe, plummy flavours over a firm tannin structure. Full and complex with soft cherry and steamed pudding characters, showing good weight from the attractive level of alcohol, there is some power here but it is all very affable and restrained. Already showing complexity, the wine of choice to match rare duck breast or chinese pork.
Sarsfield is a tiny hamlet and surrounding semi-rural community on the Nicholson River in the South-Eastern corner of Australia

Sarsfield boasts a bridge, a dozen or so houses and a single street light in the middle. There are no shops, no pub and the school has been closed a few years ago. But of course there is always hope that Sarsfield too, will eventually graduate to a traffic light and perhaps a supermarket! The Gippsland area has been inhabited for at least 18,000 years by people of the Gunai or Kurnai tribe, living as hunters and gatherers in the hills and along the rivers and the coast. (learn more: Bataluk Cultural Trail).

Sarsfield Estate

The Sarsfield Estate farm, vineyard and winery were developed by Suzanne and Peter who migrated from Switzerland in 1989. They now run a herd of grass-fed beef cattle and produce about 1000 cases of premium red wine annually. They use solar and wind energy and depend entirely on rainwater. - Sarsfield Estate

The first European to cross the area was explorer-pasturalist Angus MacMillan, searching for pasture for the drought-stricken livestock of the Monaro high plains in 1840. Two years later, largely ignoring the occupancy right of indigenous people, several cattle stations were established in the region. Within 40 years only 140 of the 1500 or so original inhabitants were still alive. The area was named by Charles Marshall after the famous Irish General Patrick Sarsfield, a distant relative.

Charles Marshall first came to the area with a friend who pioneered a local cattle station. With his whaleboat "Sarsfield" he found the old entrance from the ocean into the Gippsland lakes in 1854, and traveling the Nicholson River he discovered gold. In 1856 Marshall built a store and hotel , the Captain Cook Hotel, to supply travellers to the goldfields of Nicholson and Omeo. His boat “Sarsfield” carried stores and passengers weekly from Port Albert to Sarsfield.

In 1859 a bridge was built across the Nicholson and a town planned. Alfred Howitt, the famous explorer and anthropologist, stayed at the Captain Cook Hotel. He wrote: “We have enlisted the service of that prince of hosts, Charley Marshall, the worthy proprietor of the hotel, to pioneer us over the newly marked township, a few lots of which are to be disposed of at the Government land sale on 23rd instant…” But when only a few lots were sold he remarked: ”I expect Sarsfield will remain another monument of red tape, ignorance and folly.” With the discovery of other, richer goldfields, however, prospectors and miners moved on.

The Captain Cook Hotel was burnt down in the 1860s by Aborigines in retaliation for the shooting of two of their men who were caught shoplifting. A few years later another hotel was built in its place, which was first called Nicholson Hotel, and later Sarsfield Hotel. Sarsfield never grew as a township. Mixed farming, hops, vegetables and dairying eventually became unsustainable and gave way to cattle and sheep grazing. Today the community is growing again, but few people make their income from farming alone. - Sarsfield Estate - Sarsfield Estate

Today, the environs of Sarsfield Vineyard are all about wildlife observation, vital with cross-country skiing, discovery trails and rich scenic views tailor made for naturalist photographers. Hand-pruned, hand-trained, hand-picked, the Sarsfield Vineyard is more than just grapes! Species diversity is not only vital for easy control of vineyard pests - it is also great fun. Watching animals go about their daily business is easy during vineyard work as our slow, steady moving along the rows lets most animals forget our presence completely.

"Owned by Suzanne Rutschmann, who has a PhD in Chemistry, a Diploma in Horticulture and and a BSc (Wine Science) from Charles Sturt University, and Swiss-born Peter Albrecht, a civil and structural engineer who has also undertaken various courses in agriculture and viticulture. For a part-time occupation, these are exceptionally impressive credentials. Their 2-ha vineyard was planted between 1991 and '98; the first vintage made at the winery was '98, the grapes being sold to others in previous years. High-quality packaging is a plus!" -James Halliday

WARNING Under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 it is an offence to supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 years. The penalty exceeds $6,000
It is an offence for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase or receive liquor. The penalty exceeds $500. Liquor Licence 51409215

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