The Mornington Peninsula is grape-growing country. Here where the vines burst forth their cordons to grow leaves and then finally the cherished grapes from which our cool-climate wines originate, our vignerons deliver the best of the region’s wines to Australia and beyond.
Wine production on the Mornington Peninsula dates back to 1886, but many of the vineyards were abandoned or uprooted in the 1920s, according to Mornington Peninsula Wine records. It was at the beginning of the 1970s that several motivated vignerons recognised the region’s potential for producing cool-climate varieties due to our maritime climate and the rest, as they say, is history.
The vignerons of the Mornington Peninsula celebrated the region’s excellence in viticulture and winemaking at one of the very few wine shows to go ahead in 2020. November set the scene for the coming together of local winemakers at the 2020 Mornington Peninsula Wine Show, hosted by Tucks, with celebrated Montalto chef Matt Wilkinson’s brilliant menu complementing the ‘four flights’ of top-scoring wines. All was divine and the energy and excitement in the room was tangible as everyone looked forward to the next 12 months of winemaking.
Wine show committee chairman Lindsay McCall and chairman of judges David Bicknell delivered the results and the trophies across 13 categories and demonstrated the profundity of winemaking on the Mornington Peninsula. For any wine lover who has sampled some of these standout winners, the results will not surprise. Pinot noir and chardonnay continued to lead as hero varieties for the region, culminating in the Provenance Awards.
Lindsay explains: “The Provenance Awards were envisaged as a different way of assessing chardonnay and pinot noir, looking at three vintages of a wine in detail, and in the context of consistency of quality, vineyard character, and winemaking style. As the Mornington Peninsula focuses more and more on individual site characteristics and vineyard recognition, these awards allow the judges to explore the subtleties of terroir in a formal wine show format.”
David adds: “Thoroughly enjoyable classes to judge; 2019 was such a strong vintage with many, many good exhibits. Different sizes, styles and ripeness levels were all rewarded.” An eighth trophy was introduced to the awards with the addition of Best Sparkling Wine to reflect the growing reputation the region is gaining in the sparkling wine market. All entries attracted high scores, with David describing them as an “excellent class of sparkling wines traversing a range of styles and ages”.
Trophy winners included: Best Sparkling Wine – 2016 Stonier Chardonnay Pinot Noir; Best Pinot Grigio/Pino Gris – 2019 Willow Creek Pinot Gris; Best White Varietal or Blend – 2016 Crittenden Estate Cri de Coeur Savagnin; Best Chardonnay – 2018 Portsea Estate Back Beach Chardonnay; Best Red Varietal or Blend – 2019 Montalto Pennon Hill Shiraz; Best Pinot Noir – 2019 Paringa Estate The Robinson Vineyard Pinot Noir; Chardonnay Provenance Award – Crittenden Estate The Zumma Chardonnay 2018, 2017, 2014; Pinot Noir Provenance Award – Montalto Estate Pinot Noir 2019, 2015, 2012. Congratulations to all!
Mornington Peninsula winemakers contribute significantly to the region’s economy from an agricultural perspective and create strong tourism stimulation. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a red by the fireside in winter or a refreshing white in the full heat of summer? Then there’s the wineries themselves, where watching the world go by brings great enjoyment. Looks like 2021 is going to be a very good year for wine on the Mornington Peninsula. Cheers to that.
From Eat.Drink 2021, on sale now at outlets across the Peninsula