Provenances of top notch Pinot Noirs
ON the international stage, Mornington Peninsula garners the most attention for Pinot Noir, along with Central Otago in New Zealand.
The two regions are boasted as the big challengers or closest competitors to Burgundy producing pure, complex and seductive Pinot Noir.
While much of the hard work in finding, planting and establishing the right sites has been done, the next generation of winemakers now has a platform of great quality, mature fruit on top of the great diversity of microclimates to draw from.
The young winemakers of today have an endless number of new and old techniques to employ, but the best of them have the humility and confidence to do as little as they can to let the raw materials shine.
Quealy ‘Musk Creek’ Pinot Noir 2019 – $35
While Tom McCarthy, who took over the chief winemaking duties in 2019, may not instantly ring a bell, his winemaking/vigneron parents will be familiar to many for the other Pinot in the way of Pinot Gris/ Grigio.
Kath Quealy and Kevin McCarthy weren’t the first to plant Pinot Gris but when Kath Quealy was dubbed the “Queen of Pinot Gris” they certainly took the mantle of being credited with establishing the grape as a staple on the Mornington Peninsula and across the country with their T’Gallant label, which was sold to Treasury wine estates in 2003.
They have since established their Quealy label which now has three key pillars for which they are producing exceptional wines – Pinot Gris, emerging northern Italian whites like Friulano and of course Pinot Noir.
Pinot Noir can get missed amongst their other ground-breaking work given the general standard of Pinot Noir is already so high in the region.
But they have been working with Pinot Noir as long as any other grape with their home block of Pinot first planted in 1982 as well as plantings, they oversaw for other landowners including the Musk Creek site which sits within the Main Ridge area of Mornington at quite high elevation, in cool conditions that at times can be right on the edge for ripening Pinot fully.
There was no such problem for Tom to contend with in the warm dry 2019 season where the wine has come through with beautifully pure, ripe red fruits and a delicate, floral nose.
It is supremely elegant, and the natural acid carries the flavours seamlessly through the palate.
There are suggestions earth and minerality in the background which will likely develop as the wines grows up, but there is no harm in enjoying it for its elegance and purity right now.
Onannon Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir 2019 – $35
Onannon is named for its three partners – Sam Middleton, Kasper Hermann and Will Byron, all young winemakers with enviable positions at some of Victorias best producers.
It provides a double-edged sword though; with such established and strong brands they cannot go out on a whim and start experimenting with the style of these wines too much. Thus, Onannon became a perfect outlet for some more adventurous winemaking than their day jobs allow.
Their 2019 Pinot Noir is sourced from three sites – Flinders in the south, Red Hill sitting inland and Somers, sitting over near Balnarring.
Much like the new winemaking at Quealy, they take a deft touch albeit with plenty of thought and variety in the finer details.
The warmer year and site produced a wine really led by attractively sweet darker fruits – mainly cherry, and then some gentle spice is contributed from whole bunches which also provide some fine boned tannin to tighten up and focus the finish.
The overall feel is supple with an easygoing and elegant charm which makes it hard to deny a second glass.