This is the second Main Ridge Estate wine tried in recent months, both good. You can read the other review at this link. Main Ridge Estate was one of the earlier Mornington Peninsula estates established in the 1970s, and as far as I can tell, was sold in late 2015 to the Sexton family. The 2013 chardonnay tasted here, presumably crafted under the old regime, has an aroma that reminds of almond meal, refined French oak and orange rind. The palate is refined, with mid range acidity and great length on the finish. For (modest) details on the vintage conditions, you can look at the Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association notes here. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $65. Website: https://mre.com.au.
Pale in colour, this Mornington Peninsula pinot noir – the entry level offering from Ten Minutes by Tractor – opens to aromas of wild herbs and redcurrant. The palate is medium bodied with fresh chalky tannins and acidity, and good length on the finish. This is great value at $34 and is Burgundian in styling. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $34. Source: Sample.
This is a complex rendition of sauvignon Blanc from Ten Minutes by Tractor in the Mornington Pensinsula. It has a nutty and gooseberry like aroma. The palate is firmly acidic, with a yellow grapefruit like linearity. Ready to drink now, this wine can be approached over the next couple of years. Rating: Good. Abv: 12%. Price: $28. Source: Sample.
Ten Minutes by Tractor have again managed to produce a number of high quality, interesting and varied single vineyard pinot noirs, this time from the 2016 vintage. This is a warm and early vintage in the Mornington Peninsula as outlined in my post on the whites (see here) and the vineyards are the same, with the addition of two. The first is a Wallis single vineyard wine from a new region for this producer – Tasmania. This seems to me a clever addition. The Wallis Tasmanian wine is from a 0.3 hectare single vineyard site alongside the Tamar River north of Launceston. The second single vineyard is from the Coolart Road vineyard, which is “down the hill” and closer to Hastings. It’s the source of some outstanding wine in prior vintages. Thoughts on each of the wines follow.
McCutcheon Pinot Noir 2016
This is a refined pinot noir with aromas of blackcurrant and leaf. There’s good length on the palate and savoury cherry fruit. A harmonious and refined wine that can be approached now. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $78. Source: Sample.
Judd Pinot Noir 2016
Yields are only 15hl/ha for this wine. It opens to intense aromas of saturated red cherries and florals. The palate is between medium and long length, and the palate is fleshy, with blackcurrants and leaf also predominant. Quite Burgundian in styling. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $78. Source: Sample.
Wallis Pinot Noir 2016
Oh yes. A complete pinot noir aroma with glimpses of rhubarb, blackcurrant, leaf, forest floor and red fruits. The palate has acidity, length, a medium body, some light and very fine tannins and great length on the finish. A classy, refined pinot noir that can be approached now and over the next 5 to 8 years. Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $78. Source: Sample.
Coolart Road Pinot Noir 2016
This has some depth of colour, for pinot noir. Its aroma is quite intense, with reminders of rhubarb, leaf and blackcurrants. The palate is super youthful at the moment, with some CO2 and plenty of red fruits. This is an attractive, enjoyable and forward drinking style. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $78. Source: Sample.
Wallis Tasmania Pinot Noir 2016
This wine is completely different in character to the Mornington Peninsula pinot noirs. Its aroma is more obviously fruity, with redcurrant, rhubarb, blueberry and earthy aromatics. The palate has fresher acidity and more tannins than the Peninsula wines, but the fruit is riper and fleshier, but also has a savoury character and good length. A lovely contrast. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $78. Source: Sample.
Estate Pinot Noir 2016
Pale in colour, this has classic southern Victorian pinot noir aromas of strawberry and cherry. The palate is medium bodied with length and balance. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $48.
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
I tasted today through five Australian new release chardonnays, all blind, with prices ranging from $22 to $68. The average quality level in Australian chardonnay is very good indeed if you are able to spend $20 or more per bottle. The cooler climate regions of the Mornington Peninsula and Orange shone more brightly than the warmer regions, and Ten Minutes by Tractor’s Mornington Peninsula McCutcheon chardonnay shone brightest.
Huntington Estate Mudgee Chardonnay 2017
This wine has restrained aromatics that remind of lemon, pear and talc. The palate is dry, with firm acidity, a medium to full body, some depth of flavour, a heated spice expression and a medium length, warm finish. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 13.1%. Price: $22. Source: Sample.
Rowlee Single Vineyard Orange Chardonnay 2016
This wine has pronounced aromatics of lemon, nectarine, cedar and, initially only, smoke and struck match. There is some evidence of oak. The palate is dry, with medium to firm acidity, medium to full body, long length on the finish, and a mineral and crystalline character. From a hitherto unseen label, this is good drinking. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $40. Source: Sample.
Ten Minutes by Tractor Chardonnay McCutcheon Single Vineyard 2015
This wine has restrained aromatics of almond meal and cedar and a golden colour in the glass. There is evidence of good quality new oak. The palate is dry, and the acidity quite linear and zingy. It has refined bones of lemon and minerals, a medium body, good length and quite a subtle bearing. This is an outstanding chardonnay release, and I was not surprised to see this very good producer’s name on the reveal. Rating: Very Good to Outstanding. Abv: 13.8%. Price: $68. Source: Sample.
Pig in the House Organic Chardonnay Cowra 2017
This wine presented with unusual and pronounced aromatics that reminded of dust and green capsicum. The palate is medium to full bodied. There is a roundness to the acidity, but it is not portly. Rating: Acceptable. Abv: 13%. Price: $25. Source: Sample.
Heggies Vineyard Estate Chardonnay Eden Valley 2015
This wine has restrained but primary fruited aromatics of stones, almond meal and lemon zest. There is some evidence of oak and the acidity is quite zingy, spritzy and almost a little hard. The body medium to full and the length quite subtle but persistent. This is a good chardonnay. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $31. Source: Sample.
Les Caillerets is a 14.36 hectare vineyard that is among the most highly regarded in Volnay. And, right off the bat, it was my wine of the night. It opens to aromas of dark cherry, rosemary, anise and potpourri. The palate has towards high acidity (but not quite), great length – wonderful in fact – and a beguiling expression of cherries with some firmer tannins tucked away. Outstanding
Les Mitans is a 3.98 hectare vineyard closer to the Pommard end of Volnay and is reputed for sturdier wines. The 2005 vintage tasted here, an outstanding vintage, proved to have brooding aromas of dark cherry and licorice notes with an almost porty richness giving away its vintage. The palate is full bodied and rich, with good length and acidity in balance. Delicious and another outstanding wine. Outstanding
Domaine Joseph Voillot Volnay Premier Cru Les Frémiets 2005
Les Frémiets is a 7.40 hectare vineyard that is next to Pommard, making it particularly hard to identify as other than a Pommard. It’s another wine from the 2005 vintage, but presents quite differently to the Mitans. It has firm aromatics of cherry, iron and florals. The palate has great length, with notes of cherry and firmer tannins with time in the glass. Very Good
A strong producer and one of Pommard’s great vineyards (the 5.23 hectare Clos des Epeneaux) cloaked any likelihood that the vintage of this wine would be identified. This proved an utterly delicious wine, and should age and improve effortlessly for a decade or more. It has aromas of dark cherry, blackcurrant and leaf. The palate has firm acidity, flavours of black fruits and spice, together with particularly long length. Too young, but someone has to try them. Outstanding
Les Rugiens is a 12.66 hectare vineyard (aggregating Hauts and Bas) and is both highly regarded and close to the Volnay border. This proved another outstanding wine, with aromas of dark cherries, earth, iron and rosemary. The palate has reminders of florals and great length. The tannins are just starting to evolve. Outstanding
This wine from Les Preuses (some considerably longer musings from the region are here) first had to escape its cool serving temperature. Initial aromas of qumquat and orange rind gave way with time to a more classic expression of lemon, stones and sea shells. The palate has good length, hints of cedar and fresh, if not overly firm, acidity. Very Good
This is the first time I’ve tried a Main Ridge Estate wine, and I was frankly surprised (and absolutely delighted) at its close resemblance to a Pommard. It has aromas of blackcurrant and earth. The palate has long length and a cherry and earth character. This wine is unlike any other Mornington Peninsula pinot noir I’ve tried, and I’ve tried more than a few. Outstanding
I’ve previously reviewed Ten Minutes by Tractor’s other single vineyard wines from Coolart Road and McCutcheon from the 2015 vintage (here and here). The Coolart Road 2015 is stunning, and I have since bought some for the cellar. I’m willing to back my views. The remaining two single vineyard releases are from the Judd and Wallis vineyards and also from the 2015 vintage.
Ten Minutes by Tractor Wallis Vineyard 2015
Tasting this wine, it nears the Coolart Road wine in terms of heights and may even surpass it with time in the cellar. This wine has a perfume and balance on the palate that is superlative. It has aromas of cherry, florals and potpourri. I wrote “pinosity” but that isn’t a word. Oddly enough it seems to be a google search though. The palate has long length, a plump middle palate, but enough delicacy and edge to suggest a long life ahead. (Region: Mornington Peninsula, Rating: Outstanding, Tasted: May, 2017, Source: Sample)
Ten Minutes by Tractor Judd Vineyard 2015
The 2015 Judd vineyard pinot noir has aromas of stems and rosemary bush. Peninsula tea trees came to mind. The palate is mid weight with a balanced, delicate and spiced expression of pinot noir. This is a well made wine and in a more traditional MP pinot noir style. (Region: Mornington Peninsula, Rating: Good to Very Good, Tasted: April, 2017, Source: Sample)
Other vintages reviewed:
I am going to go out on a limb with this wine: this is the best Mornington Peninsula pinot noir I have tasted to date. From a single vineyard in the Moorooduc/Tuerong subregion of the Mornington Peninsula, the 2015 vintage is a feminine style of pinot noir with plush aromatics of spice, cherry and earth. The palate has long, long length and reminders of potpourri, cherry and sweet earth. It has the balance and finish of a grand cru and yet is amazingly accessible as a new release wine. A must buy at $78. (Alc: 13.8%, Region: Mornington Peninsula, Rating: Outstanding, Would I buy it based on this tasting? Yes, Drink: now to 2025, Tasted: April, 2017, Source: Sample)
Other vintages reviewed: