Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kooyong Pinot Noir

At a recent dinner, I had the opportunity to compare different Kooyong Pinot Noirs across different vintages. It was an interesting illustration of how vintage variation on the Mornington Peninsula is more important than the assumed 'quality' of wine.

Kooyong has a hierarchy of three in Pinot Noirs. At the bottom is the Massale Pinot Noir, which, I believe, includes some bought-in grapes. One level up is the Estate, and at the top are the three single vineyard wines, the Ferrous, the Haven and the Meres. They are distinguished by the amount of ironstone in the soil, with the              Ferrous having the most and the Meres the least.

2008 was a warm vintage and according to Sandro Mosele it was difficult to create linearity in the wine. This was apparent in the two single vineyard wines I tasted. The 2008 Meres tasted of black cherries. The wine was a bit floral and the mouthfeel not totally rounded. The 2008 Haven had more fruit concentration and stronger, yet still silky tannins. Both wines were eclipsed by the 2009 Estate. 2009 was a very difficult vintage in most parts of Victoria, but the Mornington Peninsula escaped the worst. The 2009 Estate Pinot Noir was excellent: concentrated, elegant, and a long linear finish. The 2010 Massale, from a terrific vintage on the Peninsula, was also very good. This wine is more forward, but showed excellent vibrancy of fruit and a nicely integrated finish.

The morale of the story is: save yourself some money and go for the cheaper 2009 and 2010 wines, rather than the expensive single vineyard wines from 2008.

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