The Wild Irishman – Alan Brady

17-Feb-2021

Wild Irishman - a retirement project of Alan Brady, who is known as the godfather of Gibbston. He planted the first vines in Gibbston in 1981, founded Gibbston Valley Wines, then Mount Edward Wines, both sold, then the Wild Irishman label was born and recently involved in a vineyard project in Alexandra, he just doesn't stop.

In December, Alan dropped off his 2019 release in person, which means so much to me. I used to list his wines in the restaurants I worked, telling his stories to visitors; that really helped me connect with the region and be a part of the story.

Over the years, I follow his wine closely; mostly it's because of Alan's captivating presence that reflects in the wine, Alan's desire to tell the story of a site became his style of wine.

Brain Shaw, a 'flying winemaker' from Alan's homeland Northern Ireland, made the wine with Alan in 2019, who previously worked a vintage with Alan in 2014. Alan's mentor, Francois Millet, the winemaker at Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue in Chambolle-Musigny, visits Central Otago every year at Prophet's Rock to make his "Cuvee aux Antipodes" from grapes grown at Bendigo. His Burgundy wines are respected worldwide. His humility and ultra-gentle approach to winemaking has profoundly influenced Alan's ideas, confronting much of what he had come to accept as best practice over the years.

In terms of winemaking, they took a step back in the winery, delicate handling of grapes, eliminating additives and daily-punch downs in an effort to achieve wines with clarity and purity. A minimal amount of sulphur only added at the end of malolactic fermentation. Wild yeast fermented, adding another element of terroir and the wines were bottled unfined & unfiltered. You may call it a natural wine, but purity and expressing the vineyard site is what they aimed for.

Wild Irishman was established in 2006, 2019 is the 14th release.

The 2019 growing season 

2019 was a season of two halves. Above-average rainfall and below-average temperatures between October and January brought vigorous growth to all three Wild Irishman vineyards but a late budburst and flowering. From January through March it was mostly sunny and warm, not as hot as 2018, but with temperatures slightly above average and little wind. April was cooler with rain and a couple of frosts. Overall a pretty good year with average yields and balanced ripeness across the region and a record harvest in Central Otago of 11,868 tonnes.

https://shop.kinross.nz/collections/wild-irishman

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW

  • Wild Irishman Three Colleens Pinot Noir 2019, Central Otago
  • Wild Irishman Macushla Pinot Noir 2019, Central Otago
  • Wild Irishman Doctors Flat Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019, Central Otago

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