The last time Roger Jones had a Mornington Peninsula tasting, he was the host and the local recycling centre had to work overtime. No rave this year but the Pinot Noirs were tasting just as exceptional, making the case once again, Jones believes, that these wines are arguably the best New World Pinots there are. Matthew Jukes was the compere to this insight into ‘Australia’s Pinot Coast’, Jones had an ‘access all areas’ ticket, and here tastes and rates eight of the best.
“I just love that gentle restrained perfume, followed by bright berries and a restrained savoury balance, these wines become beautiful with age, and also offer a fabulous price structure,” writes Jones.
Last week wine writer Matthew Jukes hosted a webinar featuring Mornington Peninsula, under the topic “Australia’s Pinot Coast”, with a link to a secret studio barn in Mornington Peninsula where the winemakers were waiting in the Green Room until Jukes ushered them in two by two to present their wines to the global audience.
This is a far cry from their usual presentation to the UK where in normal times they would fly over en mass and saturate the Aussie wine lovers here with a week of fabulous events.
But that small matter was not going to stop Mornington Peninsula winemakers from showcasing their wonderful Pinot Noirs, and Jukes was a perfect host.
Because I am no stranger to these jolly fellows from Down Under, having hosted a Mornington Peninsula rave in my garden in September 2018 for 10 winemakers and 80 guests, I managed to sneak a camera into the barn in Mornington to see a bit of the behind-the-scenes prior and during the hour long Zoom session with the UK. Seeing as it was late evening in Australia no doubt there was plenty of liquid refreshment flowing and, of course, plenty of back slapping and hugs… no Covid elbow greetings there!
So what did Jones think of the wines?
Mornington Peninsula was just evolving when I made my first trip there 20 years ago, but my word how it has evolved, and now pretty much leads the way with New World Pinot Noir, I just love that gentle restrained perfume, followed by bright berries and a restrained savoury balance, these wines become beautiful with age, and also offer a fabulous price structure, prices below are listed as Recommended Retail Prices.
Moorooduc Estate ‘Estate’ Pinot Noir 2017
Classic dark perfume then a deeper touch of caramel and perfectly polished shoes, bright cherry, intense cherry, rhubarb, some spices (think Marrakech bazaar aromas) which combine well with the dark raspberry intensity, needs time but this is a beautiful classic style for Moorooduc with a dark seductive style. £25
Paringa Estate ‘Estate’ Pinot Noir 2017
Delicate perfume, scented somewhat, then there is a basket of red berries on the palate, delicate cherry and a touch of spice, this then evolves on the palate; these wines are made to age and become majestic after a decade, a very refined elegant Pinot, a classic style for these guys, moreish even in its youth with classic soft tannins which will help it evolve. £48
Ten Minutes by Tractor ‘Coolart Road’, Pinot Noir 2018
Delicate fine perfume that evolves on the palate giving a touch of exotic flavours, there’s nutmeg and mace giving an earthy background, loganberries, and Scottish autumn raspberries, taut tannin giving it an air of exuberance to come; quality Pinot highlighting the essence of the Peninsula. Again to age, but plenty to give now if you decant. £59.95
Kooyong Estate ‘Single Block Meres’, Pinot Noir 2018
Fresh and buoyant on nose, rhubarb to the fore, then a cocktail explosion of savoury and sweet fruits on the palate intermingled with dried fruit, giving an exciting vibrant Pinot that would certainly liven up a cold al fresco dining experience. Would be interesting to see this evolve as its still in its development, but a definite wine to take a punt on and cellar. £42.50
Ocean Eight, Pinot Noir, 2018
Bouquet of ‘summer pudding’ on the go, bright concoction of red and dark berries with a punnet of Kentish cherry thrown in, love the savoury background, there is that classic Mornington Peninsula feel to it that the Burgundians try and copy (steady Rog – Ed.). It is focussed, linear, and has that beautiful purity, great texture on the finish, great value and an excellent Pinot. £29
Scorpo Estate Pinot Noir, 2018
Dark-fruited perfume, then follows on the palate with a lovely dark-fruited intensity, dark cherries, loganberries, wild strawberries, a hint of frais de bois, but who is mentioning France whilst we are drinking such fine pure Pinot (Yellow card Rog – Ed). Love the intensity and focus on this, whilst it still holds its purity and a touch of savoury at the end. £32.45
Crittenden Estate, The Zumma Pinot Noir, 2019
On the nose white and red cherries, and cherry stone spice, hint of luscious marzipan, with a rush of liquid dark raspberry puree, which then on the palate settles and offers a delicate but dark perfumed berry aromatic flavour, the finish continues with the cherry/marzipan theme, needs a bit of time to evolve, but this has interesting characters that would make it a perfect foodie wine such as Wild Sea Bass with Cep Risotto… reminds me of European Pinot. £27
Stonier, Pinot Noir, 2019
Fresh, light red-berried Pinot, that is as gentle as you can get but still preserves the fine integrity of Pinot, it has a delicate framework, complex in some way as the fruit is pretty precise and pure, then balanced with a lovely savoury background to give an incredible wine for this value, with age this wine hits another level but, because of the price, it is often drunk too young; there is a lovely clean finish and outstanding value for money, and an insight to the next levels up that Stonier produces. £19.99
Thanks guys, a fabulous hour and wonderful wines.