Vraison grapes

A time of change on the Mornington Peninsula?

I haven’t written for a while and that is because I’ve been searching for something new to write about.  I have been doing a lot of cellar door visiting.  Prices are going up.  The number of visitors cellar doors are getting seems to be going up.  People are spending large in the cellar door restaurants and it seems that everybody wants to get married on the Mornington Peninsula – which is great.  But what is new?  Not a huge amount.  But that is not a bad thing for a wine region.  The Mornington Peninsula is hitting its “mature time” – a time when all the pioneers are getting old and thinking of selling up, if they haven’t done already.  Family vineyards are passing to the next generation or closing, or leasing out to the “big boys”.  It’s a time that will really test what this region is all about.  Will the Mornington Peninsula settle on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and just be the best it can?  Or will a new generation try and push for something different?  There is a lot to be said for building a genuine tradition for fine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and yet as anybody who has been in a Melbourne wine bar knows – people are always on the look out for something funky.

This is probably what the average visitor to the Peninsula doesn’t see – it can certainly do both.  God Forbid that Main Ridge, Stonier, Paringa, Yabby Lake, Port Phillip should ever cease in their quest for great wine, but there are enough mavericks at work, enough alchemists producing small batches of weird vintages to add a significant frisson to the region.  The challenge is seeking them out.  In my opinion The Vale vineyard used to produce one of the finest Tempranillos anywhere, and Quealy at Balnarring – well assume nothing.  But go further – seek out the true Garagistes.  That I think is where the righteous wine adventure lies.  It’s the wine you cannot know, unless you already know where to buy it.

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