Ten Minutes by Tractor provide a wonderful level of detail about their wines and I think rightly are a reference source for the Mornington Peninsula region. Winemaking and viticulture aside, the key “macro” influences in this region are whether the vineyard is located “up the hill” or “down the hill” and the weather conditions of the vintage. As a general comment, “down the hill” grapes tend to be picked first, sometimes 3-4 weeks earlier. That said, the altitude in the region peaks at a somewhat modest 305m at Arthur’s Seat.
In terms of vintage, the 2016 vintage in the region can be summarised as warm, dry and early. Ten Minutes by Tractor point to flowering 10 days earlier than average, a harvest date 23 days earlier than average, low growing season rainfall and 21 days shorter hang time than the average. The “down the hill” wines were picked before the end of February, and the up the hill wines in the first week of March. This is reflected in the approachability of these wines.
In this post, I have reviewed Ten Minutes by Tractor’s three single vineyard chardonnays and the “estate” wine. The single vineyard wines are from the Judd Vineyard (up the hill, 206m, average slope of 6c, west facing), the McCutcheon vineyard (up the hill, 200m, average slope of 5c, east facing) and the Walls vineyard (up the hill, 142m, average slope of 4c, NE facing). The estate wine is mostly a blend of the three. The wines are all 14%abv. All of the wines are very good.
McCutcheon Chardonnay 2016, $68
This presented as the ripest and fullest bodied of the single vineyard releases, with aromas of quince and yellow grapefruit. The palate is full bodied, quite voluptuous and viscous in bearing. A generous and plump wine that provides enjoyable current drinking. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $68. Source: Sample
Wallis Chardonnay 2016, $68
A yellow gold in colour, this wine has restrained aromas of nuts, lees and nectarines, with a sinewy, nutty cashew note predominant. The palate is not quite full bodied and the acidity resoundingly very fine and firm. Light on its feet and delicate in impression, this is the most elegant wine of the single vineyard releases and should benefit from short term cellaring. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $68. Source: Sample
Judd Chardonnay 2016, $68
More immediately approachable than the Wallis, this wine has aromas of struck match, light lees and sea salt. In the glass, the acidity is fresh and less linear, perhaps a function of the partial malolactic fermentation (80%). The length is the longest of the group and the overall impression minerally and enjoyable. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $68. Source: Sample
Estate Chardonnay 2016, $44
This is $44 well spent. Between lemon and white gold in colour, the wine has aromas of grapefruit, yoghurt and lees. The palate is full bodied, but the acidity fine boned, which provides a good counterfoil to its viscous core. Approachable now, it finishes with good length. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $68. Source: Sample