Grape Expectations - Pinot Peninsula

Pinot Peninsula

Max Crus
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Crittenden Estate Geppetto Pinot Noir 2006

Crittenden Estate Geppetto Pinot Noir 2006 [©Max Crus]

Hurley Vineyards Pinot Noir 'Lodestone' 2005
Miceli Lucy's Choice Pinot Noir 2005
Red Hill Estate 2007 Chardonnay
Yabby Lake Pinot Noir 2006
It can be charming and alarming how places you visit as a child have such an impact in later life.

The Portsea Camp on the Mornington Peninsula fits the ‘charming’ category for most of the country-kids for whom the place is run.

A place where kids who never or rarely see the sea, can soak up sunshine, swim, watch the waves crash over rocks, marvel at the porpoises playing just offshore, get a glimpse of the ferocity of Bass Straight, a stone’s throw away on the other side of the peninsula.

Friendships are made during the game-playing, bushcraft, seacraft, city-craft and art and craft sessions. Social skills are learned and honed in the dorms and mess halls, all in all a rollickingly, adventurously good time is had by all...except me.  

I had diarrhoea from day one.

I don’t recall the Peninsula with quite the same fondness of other kids, nor say, the Reeds, Moras, Nolans, Blackmans, Boyds and others of the famous Aspendale artist retreat do.

But subsequent visits to my own rellies at Dromana at their uber trendy A-frame bush retreat, and, more particularly, recent visits to wineries, have easily made up for the emotional damage. Helped not the least by the shear volume and proximity of grapevines - co-incidentally the first of which were planted around the time of my ignominious first encounter in the early 70s.

Just enough time for them to get their renowned pinot right for my latest visit.

Must say the accommodation has risen a notch or two and how serendipitous to find a place called Max’s Retreat at Red Hill? Could there have been some grander purpose which would ultimately restore my faith in the Mornington Peninsula?

Course not, but one can always imagine when you’re having a night in a posh getaway with a few mates, flash restaurant within spitting distance, and views over your own personal vineyard to Westernport Bay.

You get a similar gig too at Crittenden Estate, although there’s two other cabins there, so you have to keep the noise down...but then again they don’t actually say so, so maybe not?

Yep, that’s a far cry from dusty dormitories and even further from concrete cubicles of Portsea on a cold night.

Morning Sun Pinot Noir 2006
The missing link between surf culture and wine. If you drop in and winemaker Owen isn’t there, just grab your board and tasting glass and head to the nearest point break.

Crittenden Estate Geppetto Pinot Noir 2006
Proper pinot for less than a pineapple? Pull the other one. How very punnish are puppeteers.

Miceli Lucy’s Choice Pinot Noir 2005
Curry can be a curly cuisine with which to combine wine, and who would have thought pinot could come up with the goods? Pinot and real red at the same time.

Red Hill Estate 2007 Chardonnay
Just the thing for a sunset over the bay, even though the sun is behind the hill, but in balance this is a fair bit brighter than your average chardonnay.

Hurley Vineyards Pinot Noir ‘Lodestone’ 2005
$38 (Bottle No.2423)
Artistic dribble down the neck made the label look like it was bleeding. Quite a religious experience and appropriate since we were watching footy on a Sunday.

Yabby Lake Pinot Noir 2006
Sounds like one of those things you were never quite sure about as a child, “Why’s it called Yabby Lake Grandpa?” No yabbies in this but they would go well together. Smells fabulous and tastes like a $60 wine. .


  • Mornington Peninsula (VIC)

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