Bass Phillip

Bass Phillip has been quietly making world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Leongatha, South Gippsland, since the 1990s. The estate’s wines were long sold almost exclusively in Australia, meaning that the producer remains relatively little-known beyond its native shores.

About Bass Phillip

About the producer

Originally working in telecoms and IT, founder Phillip Jones fell in love with great Burgundy from the likes of Henri Jayer and Rousseau. Inspired by these extraordinary wines, he decided to try and make fine Pinot Noir himself, seeking out the perfect spot.

Bass Phillip’s 14 hectares are all farmed organically (since 1993) and biodynamically (since 2002), but not certified. The vines were all planted between 1979 and 1996, having sufficient age to provide additional concentration and complexity.

The original block planted in 1979 is 3.5 hectares, known as the Estate vineyard. Much of the fruit for the Estate, Premium and Reserve Pinot Noirs comes from the same plots within this site each year. The vineyards are planted at high density, with as much as 9,000 vines per hectare.

With Gippsland region's high rainfall, the vineyards can be dry-farmed, however the wet weather also provides a challenge with mildew the main threat to the crop.

While the bulk of the vineyards is dedicated to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the estate also has tiny plantings of Gamay, Nebbiolo and Gewürztraminer.

The aim at Bass Phillip is to intervene as little as possible. Everything is made with natural yeast, with minimal racking and no pumps used in the cellar. Jones believes that pumping wine can remove or damage its texture – something which he feels is key to making the very best Pinot Noir.

The first vintage of Pinot Noir was produced in 1984 and the 1989 vintage was the first to have separate Reserve, Premium and Estate bottlings.

The wines are all aged in oak. For the Pinot Noirs, maturation is between 15 and 18 months for the Estate, Premium and Reserve wines – with 100% new for the Reserve and Premium, and around 60% new for the Estate. The Chardonnays spend between 12 and 15 months in barrel, with 20% new for the Estate bottling and more for the Premium bottling.

Fourrier is building a new fermenting room and plans to reduce the level of oak on the wines. From 2020, he’s also changing the closures to natural cork and wax capsules.


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