Mornington Peninsula Wine Region in Victoria: Wine Tasting Notes

By Jeni Port
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Autumn in the vineyard at Red Hill Estate, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

Autumn in the vineyard at Red Hill Estate, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria [©Red Hill Estate]

Aerial view of Paringa Estate, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Cellar door at T'Gallant, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

1. Hurley Vineyard Pinot Noir

Most wine makers hedge their bets and plant at least two grape varieties - one red, one white - but not Kevin Bell and Tricia Byrnes. They are passionately, resolutely, determinedly, mad about pinot noir. It's all they grow. But what a wine. From the first vintage in 2001, the couple have delivered some thought-provoking pinots, silky and elegant. Each wine reflects the vintage and site like few others on the Peninsula. Highly individual.

Hurley Vineyard: 101 Balnarring Road, Balnarring. Phone 5983 2483. Open first weekend of the month and public holidays 11-5pm. Other times by appointment.

2. Main Ridge Estate Pinot Noir

Few vignerons on the Peninsula have worked harder or longer to unlock the secrets of pinot noir than Nat White. After three decades, he's regarded as an elder statesman on the Peninsula, much sought out for his sage advice and insight. Above all else, White seeks structure in his pinot noir. His Half Acre pinot is immensely age worthy with a ribbon of subtle minerality running throughout, courtesy of Main Ridge's red volcanic soils.

Main Ridge Estate: 80 William Road, Red Hill. Phone 5989 2686. Open  Mon-Fri 12-4pm, Sat-Sun 12-pm.

3. Moorooduc Estate Chardonnay

The qualities that make Dr Richard McIntyre a noted surgeon - patience, attention to detail - are the very same qualities he brings to his wine making. This amazing man makes small quantities of chardonnay (and pinot noir) featuring an extraordinary breadth of complexity and flavor. His warmer Moorooduc site provides ripe flavors of cut pear, figs, stone fruits and peaches. He uses natural (indigenous) yeasts, a natural malolactic fermentation, lees stirring and some extremely tasteful and discreet new (30 per cent) French oak to produce some of the Peninsula's best chardonnay.

Moorooduc Estate: 501 Derril Road, Moorooduc. Phone 5971 8506. Open Weekends 11-5pm.

4. Paringa Estate Shiraz

There aren't too many vineyards in Australia that turn out spectacularly good pinot noir (which loves the cold) AND shiraz (which loves warmth), but Paringa Estate does. The secret? Owner/wine maker Lindsay McCall puts it down to his vineyard site, a hillside that traps the sun in a chilly part of the Peninsula. Shiraz grows in a sunny amphitheatre producing a shiraz deep in color and so rich and spicy in flavor that it has fooled many a wine judge into believing it comes from a decidedly more northern address.

Paringa Estate Winery and Restaurant: 44 Paringa Road, Red Hill South. Phone 5989 2669. Open Daily 11-5pm.

5. Red Hill Estate

Some years ago, a French Champagne maker seriously considered making the Peninsula its home. Sadly, it didn't. That decision allowed Red Hill Estate to make the running with sparkling wines in the region. Wine maker Michael Kyberd likes his bubbles pure and pristine. Apple and citrus on the nose are followed by more generous citrus, meringue and lightly toasted flavors. The Peninsula's tell-tale acidity and dryness tells you exactly where it's from.

Red Hill Estate: 53 Shoreham Road, Red Hill South. Phone 5989 2838. Open Daily 11-5pm.

6. T'Gallant Pinot Grigio

T'Gallant is home to the undisputed master maker of the hottest white variety going around - pinot gris/grigio. Kathleen Quealy and Kevin McCarthy saw the potential way back in 1990 when they established T'Gallant. Their Italian-style pinot grigio (as opposed to their Alsatian-style pinot gris) is memorable for a striking - and unusual- salty, sea-spray aroma. Hay and honeysuckle form the palate and high acidity makes this a refreshing, crisp wine.

T'Gallant Winery: Corner Mornington-Flinders Road and Shands Road, Main Ridge. Phone 5989 6565. Open Daily 10-5pm.

© Jeni Port 2006

(excerpt from The Age, July 22, 2006)


  • Mornington Peninsula (VIC)

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