The success of the annual Australian Pinot Noir tasting, held by Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in the UK, has led to an impressive global celebration of a wider range Australian Pinot Noir from Fleurie Peninsula, Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, Macedon Ranges, Gippsland, Yarra Valley, Geelong and, of course, Mornington Peninsula. Australian wine expert and retired Michelin star chef Roger Jones was there for The Buyer to taste the 17 wines and hear from Matthew Jukes who hosted the event.
“The excitement in the room by press and trade was quite tingling and it was a pleasure to share wines that I have supported for a few decades,” writes Roger Jones.
Matthew Jukes hosted one of the most entertaining masterclasses and lunches that I have ever been to, held at the Michelin star restaurant, Trivet.
This was to highlight the brilliance of Australian Pinot Noir with some exceptional Jukes’ one-liners. Inbetween the laughter the knowledge gifted to us by Jukes was priceless, we were taken on a magical mystery tour of Australia Pinot Noir.
For many years the Victoria wine region Mornington Peninsula hosted its own annual back-slapping tasting in the UK to celebrate its range of Pinot Noir, but with Covid life changed and we all got more friendly which encouraged the Mornington Peninsula guys and gals to open up their celebration to include all of Australia’s Pinots and to showcase these on a global scale.
This is the background to the Australian Pinot Noir Celebration tasting – a snapshot of what is happening currently in Australia and allowing the wines to do the speaking, highlighting the regions that showcase Pinot Noir so well: Fleurie Peninsula, Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, Mornington Peninsula, Macedon Ranges, Gippsland, Yarra Valley and Geelong.
The excitement in the room by press and trade was quite tingling and it was a pleasure to share wines that I have supported for a few decades.
And so to the tasting of 17 new Australian Pinot Noirs
Curly Flat Pinot Noir 2018, Macedon Ranges
Spiced, herbaceous, cherry, a touch sour, evolves on the palate with pencil notes, delicate tannin, brick notes, damsons, meaty, cep, delicate fresh truffle, fresh acidity on the finish, with a perfumed minty feel, fresh and focused. Grainy. £44.49 Milestone Wines.
Ocean Eight Pinot Noir 2018, Mornington Peninsula
Very little oak, very perfumed, full of bright, clean fruit, luscious and feels luxurious, textured, stunning, approachable, highlighting the chilled ocean, ripe cherry perfume, allspice, juicy cranberries, tangy and refreshing, bright, dances on the palate. £36.50 Hallgarten.
Kooyong Ferrous 2019 Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula
Ferrous is the name of the plot/vineyard, this wine is more in-depth, textured, leather, truffles, dark, rich with an expressive feel, delicious, bright fruit, crunchy fresh acidity, cranberries. Great balance – there is depth and freshness in this, the tannin gives it a bit of a kick, and is incorporated well into this wine. £39.50 Enotria&Coe.
Scotchman’s Hill 2020 Pinot Noir, Geelong
Spices at the fore, darker fruits, a thick feel with wild herbs and plummy fruit, lots happening with both fruit and spices dancing on the palate – this leaves a very pleasant, savoury feel. £29.99 House of Townsend.
Yering Station 2022 Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley
Bubble gum, more Beaujolais in profile, juicy fruit, some dusty spices, sweet cherries, blood orange zest. As it opens there is a fresh, sweet bitter feel, crunchy and great value, would allow this to breath a bit, it then evolves with a smart perfume feel. £25.00 Rathbone Wine Group.
Giant Steps Yarra Valley 2021 Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley
This is their Estate blended wine. Juicy, fresh vibrant, focused, layered and quite luxurious. Clean and focused, restrained, superb value, delicate, textured and silky with lots of clean, bright berries. Sits perfectly on the palate and is drinking so well straight from the bottle. £26.99 Liberty Wines.
Fleet Wines Nostalgia 2021 Pinot Noir, Gippsland
Bright Framboise, Frais de Bois, with a tight tannin; on the mid-palate the fruit is hidden with savoury earthy spices, a touch of aged bacon or cured meat, more Burgundian style – this will benefit with more age, more Old World in style. £50.00 GB Wine Shippers.
Dalrymple 2020 Pinot Noir, Tasmania
This is their ‘estate wine’ – complex, savoury, fruity with a rich perfume, velvety, ripe berries with delicate refreshing spice, the mouthfeel is juicy and fresh with hints of violets, a touch darker in colour, dark-fruited. Fresh and vibrant, the dark fruit is balanced with clementine zest, and some sea salt spice. Beautiful, classic Pinot Noir, with a nod to Burgundy – decant or age for a few years. £29-£34.00 Fells.
Shaw & Smith 2021 Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills
Serious fruit, with a silky feel, juicy cherries with fresh acidity, blood orange zest, sits perfectly on the palate, oozing freshness and lovely texture, perfume gently lifts from the mid-palate, embracing Adelaide Hill, with a cool fresh finish. £35.99 Liberty.
Tapanappa Foggy Hill 2021 Pinot Noir, Fleurie Peninsula
Dark blue-fruited, with razor sharpness, blueberries, savoury and tannin on palate, mix and match, earthy flavours, fruit is hidden. Young and needs to age, but I think the fruit is a touch too taut. Old fashioned style. £34.00 Mentzendorff.
Ten Minutes by Tractor Coolart 2019 Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula
Savoury, focused, great balance of fruit to earthy notes, ceps and bright fruit, luxurious, lovely length and a multitude of flavours oozing from the palate. It is that focus and cleanliness that enthrals you on the first taste, pure and exciting, World class. £69.00 Bancroft Wines.
Rob Dolan White Label 2019 Pinot Noir Yarra Valley
Clean, bright and fresh, this evolves beautifully with the sweetbreads, juicy and fresh flavours, dark and juicy on the finish with dark berries. There is a pleasant kick of acidity. £24.00 The Great Wine Company.
Served with the sweetbreads with lingonberries, which lift the wine and emphasises its acidity – the ‘hen in the woods’ mushrooms give depth and a lovely savoury, earthy feel, the sweetbreads being sweet and tender.
Yabby Lake Single Vineyard 2021 Pinot Noir Mornington Peninsula
Liquorice and rhubarb notes, spiced, cedar, hints of vanilla spice, savoury delicate mid-palate that evolves beautifully, red berry, raspberry, clean pure acidity. Perfect with a main course of Devon White Chicken, beautifully balanced with a hint of vinegar in the chicken jus. £39.95 Swig.
Moorooduc Estate Robinson 2020 Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula
More savoury with delicate spices and dark red berries, clean and moreish. Evolves on the palate with white and pink cherries, the perfume is amazing, and with food this is a star, offering a refreshing burst of fruit. On the finish there is the dark fruit again lifting this – giving it a perfect finish. £35.00 Vindependents.
Tolpuddle 2021 Pinot Noir, Tasmania
Fresh and fragrant with a marked herbaceous feel, hints of poached rhubarb, aniseed, dark berries, inky dark, cedar spice, a wine to age for a decade or two, but equally gives great excitement now. £67.99 Liberty Wines.
Mac Forbes Coldstream Village 2019 Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley
11% alcohol, clean and focussed, delicate refined spices and herbs, bursts of tiny berries, £40.00 Clark Foyster.
Paringa Estate 2018 Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula
Hints of Xmas fruit, dark, spiced, but then on the mid-palate, layers and layers of incredible fruit, evolves seamlessly, and that focus on the end is a marvel. Again rather enjoyable now but this will evolve beautifully. A Pinot Noir to hail. £60.00 Hallgarten.