Red Mountain



 “This is Burma, and it will be quite unlike any land you know about.”

George Orwell, Burmese Days

As we prepare to release the 2022 Reserve Pinot Noir, I take a moment to reflect on the wine, its journey and mine along with it.

Red Mountains, Golden Waters

I am making wine at Red Mountain Estate in the Shan Hills, above Inle Lake in central Myanmar. The setting is one of the most picturesque in the country; and I’m making wine with minority people in the area, Shan, Pa-O, and Intha; these are people who have opened their arms and their hearts to me, and accepted me into their lands and for that I will be forever grateful.

Whilst I am growing wine grapes and making wine here with the winemaking and viticultural teams, I am also seeking to learn from them, I want to tap into the beating heart and omnipresent soul of this place, a place that I have come to hold dearly in my heart.

A fine wine, along with the quality of its fruit and the deftness of its winemaking, must bear the indelible presence of where it comes from: the soil, climate, rainfall, air quality, geology, and natural history.

It will also bear the ineffable essence of its people, their culture, and the spirit of those who have gone before. Their histories, and their stories in a single glass of wine.

Glass in hand, standing on the deck of the winery restaurant, high up on a hill- looking out over a valley plush with the intoxicatingly beautiful green that is the colour of new rice. My gaze stretches out across a vast lake the colour of hammered copper, under a sun that gently floats down to caress the top of the mountains beyond. An evening routine that sets the sky aglow with pinks and oranges, indigo and purple, as brilliant and mesmerising as a work by Van Gogh, the artist himself a contradiction, the master of beauty from a soul full of turmoil.

Meditating on the journey of these vines, and of those who planted them. These people who are on my team, are now also my friends, and I have developed a great affection for them, I care about them. People here know horror; they have seen it fresh and up close, been forced to endure trauma, upheaval; they know despair.

Making wine here is fraught with confronting questions and soul-destroying challenges, but it also has its share of faith-restoring, heart-warming moments as well. In a glass of wine from a place like this, you could expect to smell its fear, drink its tears and taste the pain of loss, but if you give your glass a bloody good swirl -you can also find hope, smell humble pride and even taste small victories.

“Beauty is meaningless until it is shared.”

George Orwell, Burmese Days


Red Mountain Estate Pinot Noir 2022

The Pinot Noir grape is equally regarded as the most temperamental and sensual of all varieties. In vineyards and wineries, it can be a heartbreaker; however, when it all goes right, it’s bottled magic.

At Red Mountain Estate, the Pinot Noir grape performs exceptionally well in our red soils, high altitude and cool nightly temperatures.

In 2022, our vineyard manager conspired with the gods to produce fruit that was damned near perfect: leaving the winemaking team in awe and determined to give it the respect, care, love, and attention to detail it deserved. We let It glow; we let it sing its Aria.

Having spent 18 months in new European oak barrels to mature, to take on a deeper sophistication and write its best music, the wine is now a Pinot Noir of incredible depth, and character. It is a medium-bodied dry red wine, with a palate richly flavoured with Japnese plum and black cherry fruits, along with earthier, forest-floor notes of truffle, soy, spice and oak. The wine has wonderful complexity, length, structure and finesse. It is proudly a Myanmar wine.

As we bottle the wine and prepare for its release, I am so proud of and happy for our team: viticulturist U Te Mg, and winemakers Ma Naw, Nadi and Myat, and everyone else at the winery who assists and supports us and makes a team determined and committed to producing Myanmar wine of the highest quality.

I feel that a significant part of what we do here is share the love, and manufacture hope from despair, and a belief in Myanmar’s future. A future for these farmers, producers, workers, their families, and their children. People live their lives and find a way, and I have so much emotion and admiration for the people of Myanmar, for the potential and beauty and loving kindness that I find here, and that is something precious, that is a quality worth sharing, that is a quality worth bottling.

Darren Gall


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