Right now Mornington Peninsular is one of the coolest places for wine production out there, and cool is definitely the word. Not only is Mornington one of Australia’s truly cool climate wine regions there is a real buzz coming from some of the wineries that are setting up shop there.
You won’t find mega wineries, rather the peninsular is filled with boutique wineries many of whom have huge reputations for producing high quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in it’s cool climate. The first winery I came across in the UK was Stonier whose Pinot Noir introduced me to a totally new world of wine and since then names such as Ten Minutes by Tractor and Yabby Lake have, despite their relatively small size, gained impressive reputations.
In 2011 winemaker Mike Aylward won ‘Young Gun of Wine in Australia, which sounds as if it’s some local irrelevant competition, but this isn’t something that people enter, this is something that is bestowed on you and is building a reputation for hauling out some of the young winemakers and producers at the cutting edge of the Australian wine scene. Whilst the ‘establishment’ have many of the well known names there is a real sense that the next generation are coming in Australia and this award singles out the best of the best. Previous winners include Matt Gant of Barossa’s First Drop (whose wines I tasted last year and which were really exceptional), and Colin McBryde of Some Young Punks.
So the wine itself,
Ocean Eight Verve Chardonnay 2010
The grapes for this wine are picked earlier than any other still wine grapes in Mornington in order to give it a core of steely Chablis like acidity and are then left in contact with lees and (unusually for white wines) skins for 10-12 months in old oak barrels. This is a wine that is tense and invigorating the high natural acidity will not only enable it to take on some bottle age it pulls the fruit along the length of the palate leaving you with a long finish that is whistle clean and beautifully focused and poised. With really fresh citrus fruit and a raciness this is the perfect wine for a smart dinner with scallops or oysters.