Continued Mornington exploration: Crittenden Estate – Peninsula Pinot Noir 2016
Awhile back I’d written about an oddity that piqued my curiosity which was produced by Crittenden Estate on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia. I’m not sure if that wine is a one-off, but it’s definitely a great deal different than what you normally find from Mornington, a region that has come to establish itself as one of the forces to be reckoned with in terms of high-quality Aussie Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Haven’t maybe heard of Mornington where you live? Don’t feel like the hispters have one-upped you yet again as, despite being immersed in wine type things, I only know about this region due to following British wine media quite intently as it’s there in the UK that you might see a mention of the region or more importantly, a few scant bottles. Otherwise, everyone in Melbourne (a mere hour away) sucks down pretty much everything that the 50 or so cellars produce.
The secret to their rising fame is unsurprisingly the cooler temperatures they have due to being on a rather narrow peninsula that juts into the ocean. Days filled with direct ocean influence allow the possibility to grow the fickle grape, Pinot Noir and produce lovely, subtle bottles that are very much worth your while in case you (like me) find those Burgundy bottles a wee bit hard on the wallet.
Do the wines taste like Burgundy? No, of course not but they offer up a fresh, lower alcohol take on Pinot Noir that’s rarely the case in New World regions and yes, I’m glaring at you, California where people grow Pinot in Zinfandel regions. Mornington wines are perhaps similar to what you find in New Zealand but even that’s a rather large generalization as the Kiwis will show a massive difference between the Pinots of Wairarapa on the North Island and Central Otago on the South Island.
This particular bottle of Crittenden is similar to the handful of others I’ve tasted from the region and most importantly, it’s actually available in Europe. If in the US, I don’t know what to tell you other than the fact there’s more to Australian wine than I ever thought possible being from California where god-awful Yellowtail still dominates. If you find the opportunity to get at these wines, by all means take it.
Peninsula Pinot Noir 2016
Crunchy red cranberries, sour cherry, light touch of red licorice, soft spice, rosemary, garrigue, bit of wet forest floor. Medium plus acidity, wealth of red fruit on the palate, balanced and crisp, nearly-long finish. Very open, linear, and wonderfully accessible.
100% Pinot Noir 13.2% 25€
Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014 95
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015 94
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016 93
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012 93
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015 93
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
Domaine of the Bee - Cuvée 2015 93
Ruby with minor garnet rim. Rich red fruits with an underpinning of ripe plum, orange peel, licorice, cocoa. Broad, round tannins with a touch of toast and sweet cocoa in a long finish. Manages to stay very light on the palate despite the higher alcohol.
50% Grenache 50% Carignan · 15% · 25EUR
Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014 93
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Rouge 2015 92
Medium ruby. Fresh red cherry, raspberry, and young strawberry, lifted and breathy, saline tinge along with light stoniness and rosemary and garrigue. Fresh red fruit on the palate, medium acidity but still light on the palate, fresh, and while the alcohol sticks out a little, holds and excellent, long finish.
Grenache Carignan Mourvèdre · 14.5% · 20EUR
Domaine Fontanel - Prieuré 2014 92
Dense ruby with brick flecks. Crisp red fruits, lifted by a waft of volatility making for a light nose with a spicy licorice and leather component. Crisp and lively with red cherry fruit in the mouth and a nudge over medium acidity. Nice, lingering finish.
50% Syrah 25% Grenache 25% Mourvèdre · 14.5%
Cave Abbé Rous - Cornet & Cie Blanc 2016 92
Peach, orange peel & blossom, honey, dried apricot, and a hint of green apple. Very nicely balance in the mouth, green apple notes more prevalent, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish. Fresh, lively, very pleasing wine to drink.
60% Grenache Gris 25% Grenache Blanc 5% Marsanne 5% Roussanne 5% Vermentino · 14.5%