Today, after travels around New South Wales, I returned to Melbourne. It’s a stone’s throw from Mornington Peninsula, about which I’ve just posted my first regional report from this trip. Not just because it’s the first region I visited after the Landmark Tutorial in the Yarra Valley, but also because I was greatly impressed by the region’s focus on quality over quantity. In this and in other respects, it reminded me of one of my favourite Australian wine regions, Margaret River.
Both region’s share a maritime climate though, owing to its more southerly latitude, Mornington Peninsula’s crowning glory is Pinot Noir not Cabernet Sauvignon. But similarly to Margaret River, a long, steady ripening period gives the wines a sweet spot without sacrificing freshness, detail and balance.
Like Margaret River, though only established relatively recently (1975), it has been swift to prove its fine wine credentials. In Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine V, released the day before I visited, Mornington Peninsula was represented for the first time. Main Ridge Half Acre Pinot Noir joined Langtons’ second tier Excellent Category, as did Paringa Estate’s The Paringa Single Vineyard Pinot Noir, while The Paringa Single Vineyard Shiraz made the cut for the Distinguished category.
Pictured is Lindsay McCall of Paringa Estate with his Pinot Noir vines. You’ll find a regional report of my visit with McCall and several other producers here, including Moorooduc Estate, Jones Road Estate, Yabby Lake, Ocean Eight, Red Hill Estate, Kooyong, Port Philip Estate, Eldridge Estate and Ten Minutes by Tractor. It’s well worth reading because Mornington Peninsula is undoubtedly producing among Australia’s most exciting Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Pinot Gris, not to mention The Paringa Single Vineyard Shiraz. The latter’s region of origin may not be one of the usual suspects, but I can wholeheartedly confirm that this exciting Shiraz merits its inclusion in the Langton’s Classification.