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Small Producers Of The Mornington Peninsula

By Alex Russell on August 28, 2013 in Food

Photo: Dexter Wines

Photo: Dexter Wines

The Mornington Peninsula is known mostly for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and it is a sensational place for a scenic getaway. Those who know their wine will be aware of some of the famous names from the region (Yabby Lake, Kooyong and Port Phillip are a few of my favourite wineries). There are a lot of smaller producers doing their own thing and making some really interesting wines here too. Below are some of the good ones that I’ve discovered recently.

Tod Dexter moved to Victoria in the 1980s and made wines for Heathcote Estate, Yabby Lake and Stonier (all pretty famous and highly respected wineries). He started putting stuff out under his own name after the 2006 vintage and a lot of people have taken notice.

For now, he focuses only on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir ($38 and $49 respectively, with discounts for 6 and 12 bottles, available online). The Chardonnay is not hugely oaky (20% new) and has a real freshness to it. With scores of 96 for previous vintages, this is a great buy. The Pinot also has restrained use of oak and a lively character, and it has been scoring around 94 points with the critics. Both are great drops and well worth checking out.

These guys make mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a bit of Riesling thrown in there too. Mornington isn’t really known for its Riesling, but Montalto’s scores 94 Halliday points, which is a lovely surprise.

Their regular level Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are pretty awesome. The 2010 Chardonnay scored 96 from Halliday and won a trophy at the Sydney International Wine Show this year (not bad for $39!).

The single vineyard wines are also pretty special. Here, the idea is to show what each of the little areas of Mornington is like, so that you can taste wines variation. To get the most out of this, you need to open up two different drops side-by-side, so it’s a great excuse to catch up with friends and have a taste of some really special wines. The two single vineyard Chardonnays and three Pinot Noirs are all around $55 a bottle and are also scoring well into the 90s.

If those prices are a bit out of your league, no worries. They’ve also got you covered with the Pennon Hill range, starting at $18 for a Moscato and $23 for a Chardy and Sauv Blanc.

Moorooduc Estate
These guys aren’t new, having been in the region since 1981, but I’ve only just rediscovered them. With an entry-level range starting at around $28, the ‘Estate’ range at around $35 (and seriously good value) and single vineyard drops at around $55, these are seriously good value for money and any esteemed Chardonnay or Pinot Noir drinker should certainly check them out.

This is the newly established side project of Dan Buckle (who is now chief winemaker at Chandon, previously of Mt Langi) and Aaron Drummond. I’ve only tasted one of their wines so far (the Red Hill South Pinot) and it’s seriously intriguing. I’ll let you know about the others when I get around to them.

There are plenty of other great wineries in the region that I haven’t mentioned above. I’ve written before about Ocean Eight (the Verve Chardonnay is one of my favourites) and other famous names like Crittenden Estate, Dromana Estate and Eldridge Estate of Red Hill are worth checking out too.