I had an opportunity to taste almost all of the current releases from Kooyong. Kooyong is a very serious producer on the Mornington Peninsula, specialising in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Overall, the wines are quite European in feel and flavour, more texture than fruit dominated.
In the last couple of weeks I read a number of articles about the reducing influence of vintage variation, due to better care in vineyard and winery, and technology. This might be generally so - and I have written about the problems with vintage generalisations anyhow, a number of times -, but when you taste wines from 2010 and 2011, you cannot escape the differences.
First to the Chardonnays. These are all from 2010. The 2010 Kooyong Estate Chardonnay is a blend from the owned vineyards. It is quite fresh with very explicit minerality on the palate (91 points). The 2010 Farrago Chardonnay is a single vineyard wine grown on a soil of sand and pebbles.It is a lively wine, with grapefruit flavours, and again a lot of minerality on the back palate. It is quite austere (92 points). The 2010 Faultline Chardonnay comes from a block with heavy clay influences. And interestingly, this wine while similar in flavour, has a much bigger mouthfeel (93 points).
I have always enjoyed the Pinot Noirs a little bit more. The 2011 Kooyong Massale Pinot Noir is the entry level wine, which often provides great value for money. However, in this year, the wine is very savoury and simply lacking fruit on the palate. As a result, the taste is a little rough and unbalanced (86 points).
The 2010 wines are of different calibre. The 2010 Kooyong Estate Pinot Noir is savoury, but very balanced, with fine tannins and good length: a great food wine (94 points). The 2010 Kooyong Meres Pinot Noir was my favorite. The vineyard is surrounded by water, and this seems to translate into a softer, feminine wine. The wine has floral aspects on the nose and has a wonderful combination of softness and plushness on the palate, while maintaining a savoury note throughout. It fills out the mouth nicely - really beautiful (95 points). The 2010 Kooyong Haven Pinot Noir has much darker fruit and tastes of forest floor. The wine has a good balance and a long finish. The vineyard is surrounded by forest. (94 points). The 2010 Kooyong Ferrous Pinot Noir, which grows on quite stony ground, hence the name, is quite a tannic wine, where the fruit is quite backward at the moment and the finish is a bit dull. However, I am sure it will show more favourable in a number of years (93 points).
If you want a prime example of the influence of terroir, try these wines. They express the differences perhaps better than any other in Australia.