“It is a truth universally acknowledged that to make Pinot Noir on the Mornington Peninsula one must be in possession of a serious ego”

I should know.  I’ve been making wine here for several years, and I can say quite definitely that my own Pinot Noir is the best there is that comes out of this region, if not the whole of Australia.  And just to prove it, I wrote that without a glimmer of a smirk.

Now like Knights highly skilled in the Jedi Arts, Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir Winemakers (PNWs for short) have a very definite set of skills and characteristics.  Let me enlighten you.

  • To begin with, the Ego of a PNW does vary over their wine making career, and is only very slightly moderated by their actual ability to make good wine.

Pinot Ego Graph

  • They never publicly acknowledge the existence of grape varieties other than Pinot Noir,
  • As far as they are concerned, the Barossa and Coonawarra might as well be provinces of China,
  • Heathcote is in Middle Earth and is populated by Orcs who brew a foul liquor suitable only for the Dark Lord Sauron himself,
  • Central Otago (which actually is in Middle Earth) will make a decent Pinot “one day” but only “with help”,
  • The only wine that comes close to their current vintage is possibly one of their own previous vintages,
  • They recognise that Domaine de la Romanée-Conti was a star in the Pinot Noir firmament, but perhaps is a little faded in light of their own, more contemporary, wine style,
  • The Sermon on the Mount is one of more misquoted passages from the bible – it was actually “Blessed are the Pinot makers …
  • They never ask to join the panel at Pinot Noir celebrations – they are only ever invited, even if they organised the event themselves.  And then they have to check their diaries first.
  • Their feelings towards wine shows are summarised in the graph below:

Pinot Ego Graph 2

And the most skillful PNWs have perfected “the look”.  The look only lasts a second – less than a second.  With PNW Grand Masters it is the slightest of facial movements, used when tasting somebody else’s Pinot Noir.  In that briefest of expressions, they manage to convey two distinct emotions – alarm and sympathy.  Alarm in the sense of “Good Heavens, you’re actually going to release this!” Sympathy in the form of “Well at least you’re trying.” Watch out for “the look”.

Now to be fair, not all PNWs are as bad as this – some are much, much worse …

[Actually, in general they are a great bunch.  Normally very generous with their time and knowledge.  Every now and then though you come across one … ]

And finally, the 11th Commandment, one that didn’t make the final cut “Though shalt not turn water into fine Pinot Noir when we’ve got a whole vintage to shift”.