Dan Buckle and Aaron Drummond met at Mount Langi Ghiran in 2007. After a vintage of Shiraz it was inevitable that the conversation would turn to any other varietal except Shiraz. With both of them growing up on the Mornington Peninsula, they were keen and curious as to what they could do with Pinot Noir from such great soil. Drummond & Buckle acquired a vineyard along Hillcrest Road, Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula, three acres undervine being roughly half I-clone Chardonnay and half MV6 Pinot Noir, with north facing rows, moderate spacing and deep red volcanic basalt soils.
Hillcrest Vineyard is leased from Paul and Louise Coronel, who planted the 3 acres in 1993. Given Paul’s engineering background the vineyard is not surprisingly meticulously set up. It is dry grown and managed for quality. As such, Drummond & Buckle keep yields low, cropping at less than 2t to the acre. Being a small vineyard means that they can really focus on the detail. They both spend a lot of time in the vineyard because, as good viticulturalists know, there is no substitute for footprints among the vines.
The name Circe derives from Homer and is a nice metaphor for the seductions and perils of Pinot Noir. Dan studied arts at university before realising it wouldn’t help him get a job. He then went on to oenology. At least his studies of the classics helped in determining a good name.