Climate Change and the Story of our Pinot – From Noir to Rose

When we first planted Thompson Estate in 1997, we were hopeful that we could grow some high quality Pinot Noir. The vines flourished and we made some fine Pinot in the early years as the wine developed a loyal following for its delicate flavours and smooth tannins.  

About 2006 I took some of our Pinot to London to the venerable establishment of Berry Bros and Rudd. There we met Jasper Morris MW. He kindly agreed to give us some feedback on Thompson Estate Pinot. He wrote very detailed notes on each wine and, very kindly, without a hint of condescension, pointed out to that Pinot Noir was very choosy in selecting its terroir, and a cooler climate than Margaret River may be preferable.

I later discovered that Jasper Morris was one of the world’s leading authorities on the great red wines of Burgundy, ie. Pinot Noir. His book “Inside Burgundy” is frequently quoted as the best book ever written on Burgundy.  Since then, it has become increasingly clear that Margaret River has become too warm for quality Pinot.

Since we planted our vineyard there has been a steady increase in the number of days above the mean temperature in Southwestern Australia (See data below). We are now one of only a few vineyards with ongoing production of Pinot in Margaret River. We no longer make Pinot Noir wine but use it for our sparkling base and sell small portions to our neighbours who are making Pinot Rose and Sparkling.

Fresh young Pinot has delightful raspberry/strawberry fruit aromas and our own Pinot Noir Rose has become highly sought after, and well regarded critically, the 2018 vintage taking Gold Medal at the 2018 Margaret River Wine show.

 Annual Mean Temperature 1910-2018
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