It might be some time before you find an excuse to make your way to Australia’s Mornington Peninsula, so it’s rather nice that some of its top producers are visiting the UK next month to show their wines. That includes Tom Carson chief winemaker and general manager of Yabby Lake that has been making premium single vineyard wine, specialising in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for the last 20 years. Here’s why he hopes buyers will take the time to check out his wines.
It might only make up 0.5% of Australia’s total vineyard area, but the Mornington Peninsula certainly punches above its weight, explains local winemaker and producer Tom Carson of Yabby Lake.
Next month sees 10 of the leading wineries and producers from Australia’s Mornington Peninsula region make the trip to a series of events including its key London trade tasting on September 6. As well as Sam Coverdale at Polperro will be founders and winemakers from Crittenden Estate, Kooyong, Mooroduc Estate, Ocean Eight, Paringa Estate, Polperro, Port Phillip Estate, Stonier, Ten Minutes by Tractor and Yabby Lake Vineyard. All showing their styles of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Shiraz that are synonymous with the peninsula.
Over the next few weeks leading up to the tasting we will be featuring each of the producers involved. Here’s Tom Carson of Yabby Lake and his take on the region and what it has to offer.
Tell us about the winery and a bit of its history?
Yabby Lake was established 20 years ago this year when the first Pinot Noir vines were planted. As a winery we are primarily focused on single vineyard wines from our site, producing wines that capture the time and place in which they were grown and produced, unique little time capsules that transport you to the Mornington Peninsula.
What types of wine are you making for export and why?
Yabby Lake produces single vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for export and limited-edition bottlings of single block wines from specific locations within the vineyard. The Mornington is renowned for producing compelling wines loaded with precision and personality
What do you think makes the Mornington Peninsula unique and worth telling the world about?
The bone chilling and, at times, gale force winds coming off the Southern Ocean and the two local bays chill the region significantly and it is this maritime influence that is key to understanding the regions potential to craft these incredible wines.
What makes it different to other Australian wine regions?
The unique aspect to the Mornington is it’s a tiny region full of minute wineries and half-crazed individuals obsessed with making hand crafted, distinctive wines. There is less than 800 hectares of vineyard making it less than 0.5% of the total vineyard area in Australia.
What perception do you think UK buyers have about Mornington Peninsula?
Those in the know will have had some exposure to the region, but for many it will be their first time to taste these wines, so they will be in for a ride!
What do you hope to achieve by the tasting and events in London and UK in September?
Really, it’s about getting the regions profile in the spotlight, getting as many people as possible to taste the wines and get an understanding of what’s happening in this tiny dynamic part of the wine world.
Which types of importers and restaurants in the UK do you think your wines are best suited to and why?
The Mornington is a tiny region and doesn’t produce much wine, so it’s about specialty importers, wine clubs, collectors and restaurants that would be best suited.
Why should a UK buyer come and visit your stand?
Just a great opportunity to get a comprehensive understanding of the region, the wines and the people behind them.
What sort of export prices do you have?
We have a specialty importer, Swig Wines, who sell direct to wine consumers and the on- trade. Our wines range in price from £20 up to £70.
What other markets do you export your wine too? And why?
We export tiny quantities to a few other countries, notably China and Denmark.
What opportunities do you think there still are for premium wines from Australia?
Endless opportunities to be honest, high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are made in relatively small quantities, particularly Pinot Noir and Australia offers outstanding quality for a relatively reasonable price. One only has to look at the ancient home of these varieties, Burgundy. The prices of Burgundy in the last five years have not only gone through the roof, they have gone into orbit.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Mornington Peninsula is a must on your shopping list for any Pinot Noir nut.
What are you most looking forward to about coming to the UK?
From business point of view: To reconnect with a number of sommeliers and wine buyers l have known over the years either visiting in the UK or visiting us at Yabby Lake.
From personal point of view: I haven’t been in London for five years, so hopefully you can get a decent coffee now….
- If you would like to meet Tom and taste his wines and the other producers then the Mornington Peninsula Winemaker tasting takes place between 1pm-5pm at Australia House, The Strand, London, WC2B 4LA. Click to register.