Sailor Seeks Horse Pinot Noir 2017 (Case 6x75cl)

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98+ Points Stuart McCloskey "The aromas waft from the glass with consummate ease… Touches of smoked, grilled meat, redcurrant, liquorice, dried orange rind, blood orange, spice (black pepper & cinnamon) and rose hip. Very Burgundian. The palate is medium bodied with tannins as long and fine as one could imagine. As with their Chardonnay – This wine shows an amazing level of control. Not a millimetre is out of place. The fruit conveys a cool-climate, saline elegance which is far from sparing. Unfurling, charming, precise and certainly built for the cellar (5-10 years). There are two Aussie Pinot Noirs which I go to and this is one… Such is the brilliance, Paul & Gilli should pay Burgundy a tutelage visit. For now, I award 98+ points but I believe this will increase over the coming years. This is a fantastic Pinot Noir and a benchmark against which other Aussie wines should be measured. Decant for one hour and serve using Zalto Burgundy glassware"

Winemaker "The Pinot Noirs we love display a delicate balance between red and dark fruits, high-toned aromatics, layered depth and verve. It’s something we hope to achieve in our Pinots and is a combination of site and sensitive winemaking. Picking dates are intrinsic to obtaining the energy we look for in our wines - pick too early and you lack the delicious component, pick too late and you lose the moreish part. It’s a cliché but it’s all about balance.

Our winemaking philosophy is pretty simple. Listen to the fruit and let it guide you. We soak the fruit at ambient temperature (cold in the Huon) and then let natural yeast start the fermentation process. Once the ferments are complete we taste the wine on skins until the tannin profile is right and then press to barrel. From there we inoculate for malolactic fermentation, then leave the wine unsulphured until late-spring and add sulphur dioxide. The wine is left untouched until bottling, which varies depending on how the wine looks. Stems are used as a supportive component when they are ripe and the amount varies.

The 2017 Pinot Noir reflects the cooler weather and lower yields seen in this vintage. Cold, wet and miserable conditions gave verdant canopies and a slow start to the season but was followed by a mild, dry midsummer. You tend to get a little nervous in these cooler years about ripeness levels but a week of 35-degree sunshine in early March (a very rare occurrence) saw the fruit and stems ripen amazingly well. Our vines and the fruit didn’t suffer at all in the heat which we put down to our dry farming and the fact that our vines are acclimatised to stressful conditions. If you come to our vineyard at this time of year there are quite a few yellow leaves and we believe that these mildly stressful conditions in this ripening period contribute to complexity in the final wines. It is why irrigation techniques try and mimic certain periods of water stress by withholding water. Our Permian Mudstone soils also have the most plant-available water of any soil in Tasmania so even when it’s very dry there is still enough to keep the vines functioning. Naturally the younger replanted vines with smaller root systems stress more than the older vines so we manage their shoot and crop load accordingly. We came to the Huon and our vineyard because of this belief in unirrigated vines expressing their sites and seasons more faithfully and the resulting complexity of the wines. We think this is clearly shown in the 2017s.

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 more than 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."



Zalto Denk-Art Burgundy Glass

Zalto Burgundy glass is recommended for all Pinot Noirs, designed almost specifically for Pinot’s delicate aromas. The aromas of Pinot Noir are often the most delicate, but when revealed can be the most enticing and pretty. The Zalto Burgundy glass is the widest of all the Zalto glasses providing the largest surface area of wine. This allows for rapid aeration, revealing all of Pinot Noir’s delicate spice, herb, floral, earth and berry aromas to be maximized. The narrower rim holding these aromas for an unparalleled experience of Pinot Noir’s elegant subtleties. Zalto Burgundy is also very good for Nebbiolo, especially Barolo.

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Sailor Seeks Horse


Sailor Seeks Horse


"...incredibly exclusive, tiny production Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that has gained them a list of accolades and a reputation for producing some of Tasmania’s most highly sought after wines."


In 2005, Paul and Gilli Lipscombe decided to bite the bullet, resign from their jobs in London and pursue a dream of working for themselves. They looked to be intellectually challenged, physical, creative and produce something together that they could be proud of and decided to embark on an ambition to make their own wine. After working a vintage in the Languedoc with three different producers, then travelled to Margaret River to study winemaking and viticulture, Gilli doing the degree and Paul undertaking the post-grad diploma.

They spent the next four years gaining as much experience as possible working in Margaret River, Oregon and New Zealand for winery’s such as Xanadu, Woodlands, Beaux Frères, Chehalem and Mt Pleasant, with the constant goal in mind of eventually finding the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyard in Australia. Their pursuits led them to Tasmania, feeling that the Huon Valley would be the place to settle. There they found a run down, 6.5 hectare, north east facing vineyard that was planted with Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo which had been planted in 2005 and abandoned a few years later.

By the time Paul and Gilli found it, most of the vines were either dead or on their last legs. However, after getting a vineyard assessment from a viticultural liaison officer who called the vineyard “one of the greatest viticultural challenges he’d ever seen” felt that due to its location, it was worth reviving. So they pulled up the Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo as well as the worst of the Pinot Noir vines and decided to try to coax the rest of the vine back to life, as well as planting additional Pinot and Chardonnay.

The name was taken from a handwritten sign on the wall of their local coffee shop which said “sailor seeks horse”. The person who wrote it had sailed around the world and ridden coast to coast across the US on a mule and had decided to travel around Tasmania on a horse and didn’t have one. This struck a chord with Paul and Gilli as it encompassed the idea of what they were trying to do. Something a little bit crazy, with not much money and needing a little help from the people around them.

Paul and Gilli’s story encapsulates an image of both romanticism and achievement, being brave enough to pursue a dream, bringing a derelict, long-forgotten vineyard back to life and dedicating themselves to an unrelenting pursuit of quality. Winning the Jimmy Watson Trophy for work they’d done at a neighbouring vineyard, they are both highly skilled winemakers with a wealth of experience, an acute ambition and precise attention to detail. Their hard work and dedication has resulted in the incredibly exclusive, tiny production of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, that has gained them a list of accolades, along with a reputation for producing some of Tasmania’s most highly sought after wines.

Read our Exclusive Q&A with Paul and Gilli - Read more


Tasmanian Wine UK


"Without question, Tasmanian wines have been one of the greatest discoveries for us over the past few years. From House of Arras, producers of the finest sparkling wines to be made outside of Champagne to some of the greatest Pinot Noirs we’ve ever tasted. "


Positioned just over 400 km from mainland Australia’s south east coast, Tasmania has rapidly gained a reputation for being a premium, cool climate wine region, not just for sparkling wines but also for top quality still wines such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. With vineyard sites positioned on the north and south east side of the island taking full advantage of the cool, maritime influences and coastal breezes that help to preserve the crisp acidity and freshness that is so important in producing wines of this Calibre. Wine makers in Tasmania utilise the whole region often blending parcels from vineyards across the different sub-regions that each lend its own specific identity to the wines.

Tamar Valley on the north coast is one of the warmer sub-regions with a higher level of rainfall producing fruit with a riper character. Just to the east of this is Pipers River, one of Tasmania’s coolest regions with a terroir dominated by red, ferrosol soils and home to the outstanding sparkling wine producer House Of Arras. Created by Ed Carr who is unanimously considered to be Australia’s greatest sparkling wine maker, House Of Arras source grapes from top vineyard sites located on Tasmania’s south and eastern coastal sub-regions. As we travel south we come to the East Coast region followed by Coal River Valley, Derwent Valley and Huon Valley. Based in the Huon Valley is Glaetzer-Dixon, responsible for producing, amongst others, the legendary La Judith Pinot Noir with 3 years of aging in new oak. Dr Edge is a producer that focuses on the unique expression of each terroir creating three individual, single vineyard Pinot Noirs each from a different sub-region. Simply named North - from Stoney Rise vineyard in Tamar Valley, East – from Hazards Vineyard in the East Coast and South – from Meadow Bank vineyard in Derwent Valley. As well as these single vineyard expressions Dr Edge also produces a blend of all three named Tasmania.

Based in the Huon Valley is Sailor Seeks Horse who brought a derelict, 6.5 hectare vineyard back to life from which they now produce exquisite Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Hughes & Hughes can be found in a tiny hamlet called Flowerpot, who as well as Pinot and Chardonnay, produce Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc from grapes sourced from growers across the island. Our range of Tasmanian wines is continuously growing and we believe the region is just beginning to discover its potential for world class class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as still wines as well as the famous sparklings to come out of Tasmania.

Wild and dramatic, cultured and quirky - Read more

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