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One of our ‘best kept secrets’ is that at Best’s Great Western, we have some of the oldest Pinot Noir vineyards in the world. Best’s Old Clone Pinot Noir was first picked and labelled as Old Clone by former winemaker Adam Wadewitz in the 2006 vintage. Its history dates well before that which goes back to the old vineyard ‘Millers Burgundy’, first planted at Great Western in 1868. It was so-named because the leaves have a faint, light grey appearance, as if dusted with millers flour.
In 1967, for the first time, we made wine solely from the Millers Burgundy planting of 1867 (prior to that, it’s believed this fruit was always blended). In the mid 1980s, Danny Schuster, a viticulturalist and author of several viticultural books, identified that the vineyard was largely Pinot Meunier but had about 15 per cent Pinot Noir too. In the vineyard, there were two clones of Pinot Noir – one Swiss and one French. The French clone was deemed superior, so 11 further rows of the French selection were planted in 1987 alongside the original planting.
The clones are very old and we still have the original 1868 vines which may possibly be the oldest living Pinot vines in the world. In 2006, fruit from those 11 rows was picked separately and made into the Best’s Old Clone Great Western Pinot Noir. Old Clone Pinot Noir is exclusive to Best’s Great Western Cellar Door and available in very limited quantities.