A feast for pinot lovers

Yarra Valley wine region (Photo: Visit Victoria website)

In my latest tasting of nearly 100 pinot noirs, the regions that dominated were – no surprises – Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula, with Gippsland, Adelaide Hills, Orange, Tasmania, Macedon Ranges, Great Southern and Henty also getting a look in. Beechworth, Canberra, Grampians and Geelong were also represented in the tasting. But just how the top two regions dominate is illustrated by the numbers: of the wines scoring 90+ points, 38% came from the Yarra Valley, 30% from Mornington, the other seven regions having between 1% and 8% each.

Of the wines scoring 90+ points, 38% came from the Yarra Valley, 30% from Mornington, the other seven regions having between 1% and 8% each.

This is just a single isolated tasting of course: Tasmania or Adelaide Hills might have a better representation on another day.

The stars were many.

Bass Phillip’s 2016s are as good as ever, the Reserve (a cool AUD $590) was utterly beautiful, a finer, more ethereal style, in stark contrast to the big, dark, powerful wines Philip Jones has fielded from some earlier vintages.

Main Ridge Estate Half Acre 2016, Ten Minutes by Tractor Wallis 2016 and Coolart 2016, Mayer 2017, Mayer Granite 2017, Levantine Hill 2015, Crittenden Estate Cri de Coeur 2016 and Big Chair 2016, Giant Steps Sexton 2017, Hoddles Creek Estate PSB Single Block 2017 all shone brightly.

Paringa Estate The Paringa 2015, Rising 2017, Holm Oak 2017, Yeringberg 2015, Handpicked Capella 2016, Scorpo 2016, Giant Steps Wombat Creek 2017, and Main Ridge Estate The Acre 2016 were hot on their heels. The last mentioned is the best Main Ridge Estate The Acre I can ever recall tasting. I have been a little disappointed with this on the odd occasions I’ve tasted it in the past, but the 2016 is a ripper, just a short half-head behind its leader.

Value? Well, the Rising is great value at AUD $30, a lovely bunchy wine fashioned by Tom Belford. Holm Oak at AUD $35 is also great value.

Value often comes in the shape of newcomers, and Mylkappa 2017 (AUD $26), from the Adelaide Hills, is a new wine to me, impressing with a depth of flavour way above its station.

And Hoddles Creek Estate’s regular 2017 pinot at AUD $24 is astonishing value – but then we’ve come to expect unbeatable value regularly from Franco d’Anna and his team.

Punt Road 2017 (AUD $28), Corduroy 2017 (AUD $28), 3 Drops 2017 (AUD $32) and Oakridge Henk’s Vineyard 2016 (AUD $38) are also highly recommended.

It’s a feast for pinot lovers!

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