We survived the first night of wine camp. Despite polishing off half the Kraken and chasing a dragon, the attempt for peaceful uninterrupted sleep was not futile. I imagined being close enough to the beach that to hearing the lapping morning waves, mingling with the fresh clean morning mist. Then somewhere in the darkness, the faint sound of kids laughing, and the screams of someone scrubbing out a Vegemite finger painting off the skin off their backs. Yup, it was that kind of fun wine camp.
But there was a serious day of tasting ahead of us. A furious serving of pancakes managed to prep our tastebuds but International Roast coffee was voted down, with the crowd boisterously voicing clear preference for a morning palate refresher of Kym Teusner’s sparkling wine.
Teusner Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay NV, Adelaide Hills, SA
This is a straight-forward, easy-drinking wine that is characteristically fresh and crisp. A 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir/Chardonnay with coarse beads churning up the mousse-like mouthfeel, it exudes aromas of red berry fruit, red apples, white peach and lemon zest. Clean acidity keeps alive the vibrant flavours of redcurrants, peach, ripe strawberries, then on the finish there is some blackcurrant kicking in. A good drink to wash-down some pancakes lathered up with butter and fresh cream, drizzled with diced strawberries and mint. A cheap ($15 from DM) drink now type of wine. 87/100
Perhaps with minds laden from the night just passed, several reminders that white wine can be made from black grapes were necessary. As was an unanticipated chemistry lesson in yeast metabolism and carbon dioxide production, definitely a topic too heavy for my liking this early in the day. I would have preferred serving a more local sparkling wine like the solid Stonier Estate Sparkling 2009 ($30 at cellardoor) but a group of fortunate ones had this excellent winery on their visitation list. One of the more precise sparkling wines to be produced in the region, fruit-driven from the Pinot Noir-derived strawberry notes, but with the robust acidity and mouthfeel from Chardonnay. Great length and aftertaste with lingering flavour of citrus fruit.
Moving on past a further explanation that smelling strawberries in your wine does not mean they fermented strawberries with grapes, we came to the second wine of the morning. The prototypical white wine produced in the Mornington Peninsula, Chardonnay. On the table was a wine which comfortably resides within the top 20% of Chardonnays is Sandro Mosele’s Kooyong Clonale Chardonnay 2013. Of course, I couldn’t not mention his brilliant single vineyard wines, but the Clonale label offers a premium quality wine that is accessible to all.
Kooyong Clonale Chardonnay 2013, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
$26 from DM. A well-priced wine made from whole bunch-pressed fruit, fermented in 12% new French oak, and aged on lees for 10 months before bottling. So there is a decent level of complexity and texture to this wine. Fresh, lifted ripe aromas of pink grapefruit, peaches, slight spice and savoury oak. At 13.5% alc, it certainly feels a lot riper on the palate. A full-bodied white wine by most measures, high acidity, it has rich flavours of ripe peach and citrus, the lemony aftertaste is persistent. It has its rough edges, but an enjoyable wine nonetheless. Drink now. 89/100.
Richard McIntyre’s Estate ($38) and single vineyard ($55) PNs are lovely drinking wines, expressive and are a good showcase of this region’s classic take on PN. At a lower price point is the Devil Bend Creek label which is made from a blend of fruit sourced from the Northern areas of the region.
Moorooduc Estate Devil Bend Creek Pinot Noir 2012, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
$25 from Prince Wine Store. The wine is made from destemmed fruit and fermented on skins in open stainless steel vats. The cap is hand-plunged throughout the fermentation process before being pressed into and matured in old French oak barrels for 10 months prior to bottling. A clear, deep ruby colour with lifted youthful aromas of black cherry, raspberry, slight hints of rose petals and star anise. A tasty, flavoursome PN with slightly rough silky tannins, high acidity. Rich flavours of chrunchy chewy cherry flesh and raspberries, fruity acidity to round off the finish. Have this with soy-sauce braised pigeon and shiitake mushrooms. Drink now. 90/100.
So these were the 3 wines to get us going on a day of winery tours. (Although one bus did get sidetracked by getting stuck in soft ground whilst attempting a U-turn). Solid representatives of Mornington Peninsula chardonny and pinot noir to set a benchmark for the subsequent tastings.
If you are a student at Melbourne University and would like to attend these events or participate in regular tastings, please contact the club through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/unimelbwinesoc).