Wine of the Month – Pimpernel Vineyards GSM2 – 2015

Pimpernel Vineyards GSM2

Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre, 2015

Region :  Coldsteam – Yarra Yalley – Victoria.


If you happen to take a right turn down Hill Road, on the South Side of the Maroondah Highway you will chance upon an eclectic array of smaller wineries.

Pimpernel Estate, founded by Mark and Fiona Horrigan, is nestled at the base of the mystical Great Dividing Range. Situated in Coldstream, Yarra Valley, the team was joined by Damien Archibald as Head Winemaker in 2008. Working simpatico with Mark, the guiding mantra is:

Extraordinary wine comes only from exceptional fruit.’

Being totally dry grown, the lovingly tended vineyard boast vines inspired by the classic French regions of Burgundy, Loire and the Rhone Valley.

Low yields are sought by hard hand pruning. This, combined with the lack of extra irrigation, guarantees small tight bunches of exceptional fruit.

Damien explains, “I want the fruit to be rich, not overripe, but just ripe. That perfect point when everything comes into balance – when you just want to eat it off the vine”

Each bunch is assessed for that ‘sweet spot’ of ripeness before being handpicked. To preserve the delicate flavours, and to minimize bruising and oxidation, the wine is moved around the winery by gravity, not pumps.

Comprising just 16 acres of vines, over 50 vinifications are undertaken during each vintage. This attention to detail in the winery allows for the uniqueness of each ferment to be captured. Elegance and complexity are the sole objective.

One of the hallmarks of the Pimpernel range is the delicious freshness of the wines, driven by natural acidity.

A visit to the cellar door is a happy, welcoming experience. Cellar door manager and assistant winemaker Morgan is welcoming of those lucky enough to visit. Good humour and gentle banter are par for the course, making for an informative relaxed session. It is a good idea to allow plenty of time – as the range is extensive, and the tasting is informative and comprehensive. There are lots of chances to ask questions and discuss the wines.

The cellar door is currently open from Thursday through Sunday. On Fridays you may also be lucky enough to catch Damien lending a hand at the cellar door. Saturday and Sunday you will most likely find owner Mark Horrigan holding court at the cellar door. Mark is a jolly cardiologist, who loves meeting his prospective customers and proudly presenting his prized wines. There is always a joke or witty observation waiting to escape from Mark. The cellar door sometimes has the atmosphere of an intimate dinner party when Mark is ‘doing his thing’.

The diverse array of grapes grown on the tiny vineyard include the following white varietals : Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Muscat, Marsanne. The red selection includes Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre.

For lovers of great quality and well priced fine wine, a Perfect Day Tour visit to Pimpernel is a must.


The Wine:

Pimpernel GSM 2015

Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre

This wine was inspired by the classic reds of the Southern Rhone, where it is all about blending red varietals. This helps to make a more balanced and complete wine with each component playing its part.

It is interesting to note that Grenache is the most highly planted grape variety in the world. The Southern Rhone in France and huge plantings throughout Spain help to make it thus.

In the Southern Rhone, the blend is generally Grenache, followed by Mourvedre as the second most prominent grape, then Shiraz. In Australia, we tend to use Shiraz as the second most important grape, making a GSM instead of the French GMS.

In the earliest, and most iconic Southern Rhone appellation of Chateauneuf-du-Pape,  many other red and white grape varieties (including Carrignan, Cinsault, and Grenache Blanc), may be used in the blend.  A very popular wine in England – where they love to celebrate a leisurely Christmas Lunch with a bottle or two. It has been known to smooth over family tensions.

This however is a rabbit burrow for another day.

Perfect Day Tours purchased a bottle of the wine for the review.


 PDT Tasting notes:

The aroma offers subtle notes of raspberry and ripe blood plum, gaining more prominence as the wine opens up.

Gently unfolding on the mid palate, soft and medium bodied. The flavor intensifies at the back, delivering length of flavor.

The tannins are perfectly ripe and velvety, due perhaps to the Grenache being a dominant portion of the blend. There is a lovely lick of red fruits.

Suffering not the sweet, fairy floss notes of so many over cropped Grenache dominant blends from the warmer regions, there abides here a freshness and brightness. This is due in no small part to the natural, cool climate acidity.

*Interestingly, there is a 1% addition of the aromatic white grape Muscat of Alexandria, which is co fermented. The alcohol is $14.8.

Indigenous yeast, older French oak, and no filtering/fining  help to define the character of the wine.

Food pairing – a perfectly cooked lamb chop, homemade oven fried chips, steamed carrots and broccoli.

The Pimpernel GSM2 is available for $50 at the cellar door.

Official Score out of 100 : 

 Delightfully Delicious.



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