Mount Mary 2012 releases (and more)
One of the original ‘dress circle’ Yarra Valley wineries, Mount Mary is inarguably a famous estate, its reputation driven by its most famous wine – and one of Australia’s best Bordeaux blends – the Mount Mary Quintet.
What’s most interesting however is just how much Mount Mary has changed of late, the winery having subtly evolved over the six years since the passing of iconic founder Dr John Middleton.
Perhaps the most noticeable of these change (or it is to me) is that the wines are more visible in the trade – they’re now opened at more events, both trade and public, more often (and I’m thankful for it).
Speaking of shows, another important change lies in how the wines are sold – the Mount Mary website has been juiced up, the famous (made so by the words of the late Dr and carried on aptly by his son) newsletter now available online. Heck the winery even has a blog!
Finally, and most importantly, the people have changed too. The business is now run by Dr David Middleton (son of the late Dr John), with these 2010 vintage wines also the first releases where Sam Middleton (son of David) has had full winemaking control. Sam is a particularly affable gent too, his pours infinitely larger and his approach much more open than those of his grandfather.
The only question perhaps is whether these recent changes have had any effect on the (renowned) wine style. It certainly doesn’t look like much change judging by these releases, though I was intrigued to see some more overt oak characters coming through, an element I haven’t noticed in young Mount Marys quite as much previously. Probably nothing to worry about really, for these are wines for drinking later, not sooner. I am interested to hear if any others picked the oak prominence though.
Regardless, the wines remain as classy, well made and unashamedly euro-leaning as ever, with these 2010 wines generally showing a purity that marks them amongst the very best Mount Marys. As usual, they will all grow more impressive in the cellar too.
I had the good fortune of tasting these new release wines at a trade tasting recently, with Sam himself delving out both wine and insights. There was even a few back vintage wines opened for comparison, the 06 Quintet in particular looking fabulous. Again it was a trade tasting, so the usual caveats about scoring apply.
Mount Mary Triolet 2010 $90
A blend of 58% Sauvignon blanc, 32% Semillon and10% Muscadelle, this was made in largely old oak barrels with grape solid and lees stirring, maturing then for 10 months in barrel.
It actually looks quite neutral on the nose does this Triolet, doing its best Graves impression immediately, though this also carries a honeycomb over citrus, richness meets acidity that is less Bordeaux. It’s just a fraction full on the nose actually, still showing its puppy fat and rounder edges. Excellent lees work evident on the nose too along with a flor-like edge of oxidative handling. That broadness carries through onto the palate, though giving weight and complexity, again with that lightly oxidative edge. It’s a typically textural, mouthfilling white that is less about varietal characters and more about about weight and swagger, backed by cool clime acidity. Perhaps not a classic Triolet (its a bit ‘big’ for that) though certainly a white of some style and potential.
Mount Mary Chardonnay 2010 $90
No malolactic fermentation. Barrel fermented and full solids + lees stirring used. 20% new oak, the rest in older barrels and large casks (1500L) for 10 months.
It’s always interesting to see a cool climate Chardonnay with no malo. Sometimes they look leaner, other times stunted, sometimes wonderfully pure. This straddles all three, though nicely overlaid with richness and wildness thanks to that oxidative handling, backed by ‘cellar me now’ acidity. The only quibble really is the price, which is erm, serious…
Initially nutty and yeast heavy, with a whack of oak too. Dig deeper though and that winemaking influence doesn’t penetrate the sour, yet quite rich palate. I like that yeast driven/slightly oxidative weight, yet it also looks heavy through the middle and tart through the tail. Yes it’s going to live for an age, but is it really refined enough? For the moment, not quite. Much potential and great length, though not quite the shape yet.
Mount Mary Pinot Noir 2010 $145
The Mount Mary vineyard is a melange of different clones (some 30+) with newer vineyard plantings also based on a clonal selection. This wine had a shortish (7 day) ferment with no cold soaks or post ferment maceration. 22 months in oak, 25% large format, 15% new barriques.
Again shows the obvious oak. The fruit here is rather primal and generous, the wine pretty and flowing with dark cherry vitality. Excellent acidity drives this, with the tannins very light. Should be a great cellaring Pinot for that measure with its best days ahead. Nice wine, silly pricetag.
Mount Mary Quintet 2010 $145
A blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 14% Cabernet franc, 5% Petit verdot, 4% Malbec 4%. Produced in a rather similar fashion to the Pinot Noir, although with slightly longer (10 day) ferments and a greater proportion of new oak barriques (30%).
The enthusiasm amongst all the Mount Mary team for this wine was palpable. Not hard to see why either – its a classic Quintet. Lovers of the style ready your credit cards (I’d buy it. If I could afford it).
Again that caramel toast oak. Maybe it is just me who is seeing that oak? Pushing that aside and its so youthful and expressive. There is a certain Pinot-esque translucency to this that is immediately attractive (or it was to me at least), There is a certain meaty brawn to the palate too which is rather welcome for a wine that gets criticised for its ‘lightness’. Refreshing acidity, excellent length, great length, textbook Quintet. My score is lowish perhaps but reflects that this has a way to go.
Mount Mary Quintet 2005
From a warm year in the Yarra, though still carrying some leafy prettiness. Interestingly this looked a bit raw and less delineated in that context, more ripeness, more ballsy fruit, less elegance. Riper, firmer, less classic but more power. Still very attractive but I think I like the more defined years. Stylistic choice though.
Mount Mary Quintet 2006
Light weight and looks quite Cabernet Francish with its redcurrant fruit. I think that might be the Merlot talking and I really like it. Singing purity. A linear, tight wine but with more pretty, almost playful fruit. The finish though is more herbal, more serious and longer than much in this lineup. Lovely freshness and lucidity. Lovely wine. What’s more, you could drink this now or in a decade. Big yes from me.
Drink: Now – 2025+
Buy online: Mount Mary website
Mount Mary Refléxion Cabernet Blend 2009 and Réflexion Pinot Noir 2009
Both from the Yarra bushfire affected 2009 vintage and both being sold off as declassified second label wines. I found them both to be slightly challenging, smoky and lean wines in context and struggled somewhat to love either of them. Saying that, the Reflexion Pinot is bright and expressive, pretty and juicy, comparing sharply to the ashen and greenish Cabernet. I’d really struggle to recommend either for $45 to be brutally honest.
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