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Ten Minutes by Tractor has not been without its share of Peninsula story-making over its 20-plus-year history. It all began in 1997 with three separate families owning vineyards in Main Ridge, about 10 minutes’ tractor ride apart. It was catapulted into a force with Martin Spedding’s vision to consolidate each family personality under a single estate name in 2003. Then last year, fire ravaged its eponymous starred restaurant on the estate — its sister bistro, Petit Tracteur, is still open. Their patience in making great wine is something we all must now deal with while they rebuild the restaurant under star chef Adam Sanderson. Here are some highlights of their wines while we wait for that day later this year.
Ten Minutes by Tractor Estate Pinot Noir 2016 $48
Perfectly matched to bistro French food, this wine has energy and an extreme approachability. It’s got a dark cherry undertone with a hint of jam, so there is ripeness from a warm vintage and yet that reference of fragrance from the hills of the hinterland. They have used more whole bunches this vintage, which means the stalks are in so there is texture — perfect for savoury meats with lashings of salty sides.
Ten Minutes by Tractor Judd Chardonnay 2016 $68
The Judd vineyard sits in the heart of Main Ridge, high on the Peninsula hinterland and benefiting from the cool breezes and hilltop fogs that drive the line of the wine. All hand-harvested and 11-month barrel fermentation, it is fresh and layered with nectarine, whipped butter and tight warmth. It’s full-bodied yet modern and a great reference for the future of chardonnay on the Mornington Peninsula.
Ten Minutes by Tractor Coolart Road Pinot Noir $78
From the warmer northern area of the Peninsula, this ‘down the hill’ pinot is darker and brooding. If you’re into shiraz and looking to find a way into pinot noir, this is a great area to explore. Because it’s warmer, the grapes are picked earlier to maintain that acidity line. The team actually picks on a range of days, which adds complexity to already brooding and easy-going flavours.