Thanks to the generosity of Sommeliers Australia and the Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association (MPVA- and its very detailed website), I attended a day trip to improve my understanding of the wines, vintages, geography and winemakers of the region. Kudos to the winemakers for making time and wines available, and their preparedness to field questions from our group.
The group tasted (at speed) a range of current, near-future, and museum stock wines. The natural acidity usually provided plenty of energy and ageing potential. As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir provided most wines tasted.
My takeaways were
- A cool, maritime climate with large water bodies (Bass Strait, Westernport bay, Port Phillip Bay) nearby, plantings from near sea-level to 300 meters, and varying soli types, there is ample scope for grape-growing variations, even before winemaking philosophies and techniques come into play.
- Vines (now) have enough age to provide richness and flavour depth
- There are thoughtful winemakers employing a range of techniques and trying to maximise the distinctiveness of their sites
- With Chardonnays, divergence between full malo and no malo approaches, but both were successfully employed
- Many comments about wild yeast, clones and there is a lot of experimentation
- 2015 was generally regarded as an excellent year, some support for 2016 too, 2017 very good, 2018 a large crop but excellent quality (at this early stage)
Its probably cruel to single out highlights, but standouts for me
- 2012 Yabby Lake single vineyard block 1 Chardonnay; bright, tangerine, lemon curd, stonefruit, with many years ahead
- 2017 Stonier Chardonnay; a wine made in amazing quantities, but layers of chalk, honey, creaminess and energy, a tribute to winemaking techniques and blending of batches at a bargain price
- 2017 Quealy (musk vineyard) Pinot Gris; Pear, texture, lemon drop, plenty going on
- 2010 Kooyong Farrago vineyard Chardonnay; in its prime, a lovely, juicy, supple, grapefruit style, a delight that was hard to spit out
- 2016 Port Phillip estate Morillon Pinot Noir; rhubarb and energy in abundance
- 2016 Kooyong Ferrous vineyard Pinot Noir; earth and plum, supple and seductive
- 2016 Moorooduc Robinson Pinot Noir; (project wine) fleshy, foresty, plummy, dark fruits
- 2016 Paringa Pinot Noir (project wine); sweet fruit, fresh and utterly delicious
- 2010 Eldridge Estate Pinot Noir; soft but opulent
- 2015 Paringa estate “the paringa”; amazing mouthfeel, with a balance of chew and finesse
- 2015 Ocean 8 “aylward” Pinot Noir; fragrance and power, some purple fruits in the mix. Low cropped but unforced
- 2016 Moorooduc Robinson vineyard Pinot Noir; raspberry, dark cherry and sensual
- 2016 10 minutes by Tractor McCutcheon vineyard Pinot Noir; sweet fruits, fleshy, smashable but with serious intent.
Apologies for the lack of photos and their quality, I had some technology challenges!
The wines, scenery and proximity to Melbourne make the Mornington Peninsula a “really-should do”.