Winery Stop 5, Montalto

Final stop of the day, Montalto.  This place opened in 1997.  They were very rushed and didn’t seem that eager to let/want you to enjoy their wine.  And honestly, most of it wasn’t all that great anyway.


2015 Pennon Hill Sauvignon Blanc – very dry

2015 Pennon Hill Pinot Grigio – green apple at start, no finish

2015 Montalto Estate Pinot Gris – oak taste, more flavor

2015 Pennon Hill Pinot Noir – some sort of bite to it

2014 Pennon Hill Shiraz – light for a Shiraz

2015 Montalto Apple Cider – dry

That was the last one we visited.  Nice spread all around and great way to check out the area.

Winery Stop 4, Red Hill Estate

Red Hill Estate was established in 1989 with 46 acres of land and 23 acres under vine.  They have great views of the Mornington Peninsula, too.  We went through their tasting (note, we were splitting tasting after the first one, we were not crazy people, and even then small sips were being taken).


Vintage Brut (This magnificent sparkling wine is made from 52% Chardonnay, 41% Pinot Noir and 7% Pinot Meunier. Created using the traditional “Methode Champenoise”  system, this 2011 Vintage Brut exhibits a fine and persistent bead, a lively palate and a fresh acidity, which lingers harmoniously with the aged complexity.) – tiny apple flavor, young

Cool Climate Pinot Grigio (Displaying aromas of refreshing citrus and lime zest, some confectionery notes and a hint of musk on the nose, it is soft on the palate with freshly cut pears, some minerality and neat acidity back bone.) – pears, light flavor

Cool Climate Sauvignon Blanc (Flavours of green pea pods freshly picked from the garden flow into a herbacousness that keeps evolving into lime juice and Honeydew melon. Toward the end, and through the middle of all these flavours are tropical juices and passionfruit.) – huge nose, passion fruit

Cellar Door Release Chardonnay (On the nose there are pronounced aromas of citrus and caramelised pear, whilst on the palate it is beautiful fleshy with soft, crisp acids and delicately balanced flavours of baked fruits and pastry.) – butter and oak all the way home

Merricks Grove Chardonnay (With a fine, delicate bouquet of melon and toasty oak, this wine is an absolute delight; a clean minerality on the palate and complex layers of melon, peach and oak. A cool climate classic.) – not that exciting

Cellar Door Release Pinot Noir (Our 2014 Cellar Door Release Pinot Noir is a riot of mixed berries on the nose that work harmoniously with an underlying sprinkle of dusty oak. After an initial burst of juicy raspberry and fresh cherries on the palate, this superb wine finishes with a touch of spice that is both lingering, satisfying and strangely moreish.) – cool climate, earthy, some spices

Merricks Grove Pinot Noir (Made from 100% Mornington fruit, this immense Pinot Noir has lashings of raspberry and cherry compote on the nose whilst on the palate there is an abundance of soft, rich and comforting raspberry rhubarb that effortlessly mixes with a dusty oak finishing and gloriously fine tannins.) – fruitier than the prior pinot

Regional Release Heathcote Shiraz (The wine is deep purple in colour with aromas of dark cherry & raspberry and has subtle hints of spice & white pepper that lead to an intensely flavoured, well rounded (yet relatively soft) mouth feel of dark fruits, blackberries & oak influenced raspberries.) – Bring it home, awesome, pepper and berries

Regional Release Coonawara Cabernet Sauvignon (The wine displays rich and succulent blackcurrant and red berry characters that mix with a hint of cassis. On the palate the wine is enhanced by some subtle oak influence and finishes with smooth gentle tannins and a firm structure.) – thick, not great

Old Tawny (no winery description) – tastes like fruitcake



Winery Stop 3, Paringa Estate

Next we get heavenly views and amazing wines.  We visited Paringa Estate which is family run and opened in 1985.  We sipped some amazing stuff here.


2014 Estate Pinot Gris (The bouquet has lifted varietal fragrance of fresh cut pear and apple. The palate has fresh pear and citrus fruit flavours combined with lovely mid palate texture and balance, finishing crisp and dry) – smooth, fruity, crisp

2015 Estate Viognier (The bouquet of this wine has fragrant varietal aromas of apricot, citrus and spicy green pear. The palate has barrel ferment richness but still retains delicate apple, pear and cinnamon flavours with crisp acidity) – slight butter, apple and pear notes, would be perfect with lobster, side note

2015 Peninsula Chardonnay (The bouquet is floral and fruit driven with citrus and stone fruit aromas.  The palate has rich stone fruit flavours, good texture and a persistent long finish.  While this wine has been made for current drinking it will build further complexity over the next 3 to 6 years) – oak on end only

2015 Estate Chardonnay (The bouquet has a complex floral lift of citrus and stone fruit, with some secondary barrel ferment lees aromas. The palate has cool climate white fleshy stone fruits, citrus and savory nutty barrel ferment flavours. The wine has good palate weight and fine natural acid that leads to a long persistent finish.) – crisp, nutty (almond/walnut), almost no oak

2015 Peninsula Pinot Noir (The fruit for this wine was sourced from our three leased Red Hill Vineyards and a number of other high quality grower vineyards across the Mornington Peninsula. The warm finish to the growing season lead to a compact and busy harvest resulting in beautifully balanced, expressive wines.
Fruit was 100% de-stemmed and fermented in 2.5 tonne open fermenters. The fruit spent an average of 21 days in the fermenter on skins. Maturation took place over 11 months on lees in French oak barriques.) – AMAZING, dark cherry, tiny bit of chocolate/cocoa

2011 Estate Pinot Noir (Early disease pressure followed by cold and wet conditions during ripening meant fastidious vineyard management was pivotal in a successful 2011 vintage. With the Paringa vineyards in good health patience was then required as fruit maturity was reached up to four weeks later than average.
In the winery berries were de-stemmed (100%) and fermented in two-tonne open fermenters. Maturation took place over 11 months on lees in French Oak barrels (44% new))– earthy ‘brown’ tone because of the year

2012 Estate Pinot Noir (The Paringa team is confident the 2012 reds will be regarded amongst the Paringa greats. A hot weekend, then a week of solid rains in early March was followed by somewhat of an Indian summer. Pinot Noir yields in 2012 were down 20 – 30%, but resulted in great concentrated flavour & excellent overall quality.
In the winery berries were de-stemmed (100%) and fermented in two-tonne open fermenters. Maturation took place over 11 months on lees in French Oak barrels (50% new)) – fruity, more body

2014 Peninsula Shiraz (In the winery berries were de-stemmed and co-fermented with 5% Viognier in two-tonne open fermenters. Post fermentation, the wine maturation took place in seasoned French oak for 11 months before the wine was bottled) – AMAZING nose, white pepper, some black pepper, so good, so good, oh so good

2012 Estate Shiraz (The bouquet & palate has the Estate’s typical cool climate cracked black pepper / spice combined with blackberry and liquorice flavours and aromas. The firm fine grained tannins and acid provide excellent structure to the wine that will soften with bottle development. This is a wine that can be enjoyed young with food but will reward careful cellaring.) – Very nice


Yes, lots of wine.  I’m really not kidding when I ask these people to just pour me a little bit.  Now, this winery only sells from their winery.  You can’t find them in stores.  I couldn’t easily buy anything because this was day 2 of my 2.5 week trip to several cities (with about 4 more plane trips).  It also apparently it not available in the US.  Any wine distributors out there who are reading this…can you change this, please?




Winery Stop 2, Moorooduc Estate

The second place we decided to check out on wine-tour in Mornington Peninsula was Moorooduc Estate.  This place was established in 1982, and is a small, family run wine business. So small of a vineyardt that when you pull into the parking lot you see the garage/work area where the great grape juice is being made.  We took a few quick sips of the wine here.  Very different than the first place.



2013 Moorooduc Estate Chardonnay (Pale lemon in colour with lovely fruit expression lemon/grapefruit citrus and white stone fruits, on the nose and palate with a crisp linear acid line and terrific length) – true Chard – buttery!

2013 Moorooduc Estate Pinot Noir (This wine, from the McIntyre, Robinson and Garden Vineyards, is bright cherry garnet in colour with a vibrant nose of red cherry, wild strawberry a hint of Campari and savoury notes of cloves, star anise and nutmeg. Elegant on the palate with bright fruit and crisp acidity the wine is long with a silky finish) – tough to explain but not my kind of PN

2013 Robinson Pinot Noir (On the palate, the red fruit is juicy and the spice is warm and subtle with violet notes. The wine shows generosity of mid-palate, and finishes with good acid and firm, silky tannins. Very good length with subtle power; complete and round) – earthy

2013 Garden Vineyard Pinot Noir (The whole bunch fermentation results in a deep garnet colour and a gorgeous savoury nose.  Aromas of teak, dark wild cherry, morel mushrooms, earthy notes and dark red roses abound.  There is a hint of roasting beef coated in chopped rosemary and thyme.  On the palate the firm, fine-grained tannins are king, surrounding the savoury, meaty yet plush flavours and textures creating a dark mouthfeel that goes on and on.  A beautifully balanced wine this pinot walks on the dark side and is seriously sexy!) – another very earthy one

2013 McIntyre Shiraz (no vinter notes on it) – Pinot drinker’s Shiraz

Nothing there I was thrilled with and not an overly eager-to-impress staff.  But you must visit to find that out, too bad.

Winery Stop 1, Yabby Lake Vineyard

Sunny day, time to start the wine adventures in Mornington Peninsula.  The first stop was Yabby Lake Vineyard.  It opened in 1998 and they have 200 acres.  They use all their own grapes for their wines.  We had the opportunity to try many of their vinos that day, some from their Red Claw Collection, some from their Yabby Lake Collection.


2015 Red Claw Pinot Gris (A bright, refreshing style of pinot gris – bone dry and the perfect partner for fresh local seafood)  – very light

2015 Red Claw Chardonnay (Beautifully focused and fine, this is a lovely modern expression of Mornington Peninsula chardonnay) – light on the oak, nice chard

2015 Yabby Lake Pinot Gris (A fine, refreshing style of pinot gris with delicate aromas and beautiful natural acidity) – could use a bit more body, not much taste

2014 Yabby Lake Chardonnay (A terrific year for chardonnay. The wine shows great purity, beautiful natural acidity, line and length) – WOW, not too oaky at all

2014 Yabby Lake Pinot Noir (Incredibly perfumed, finely structured and silky pinot noir)  – earthy nose, tannic

2014 Yabby Lake Syrah (A perfumed and spicy Syrah, medium-bodied in style) – WOW, on the nose especially

2013 Heathcote Estate Shiraz  (One of Heathcote’s best known Shiraz producers, concentrated yet beautifully balanced and fine) – OK


So, of course we can’t get these in the US.  But if you’re visiting Australia or anywhere that has them, definitely give any of these wines a try.