Mount Mary 2010 Vintage

Heya peeps, been crazy busy lately and with the combination of being lazy, my poor blog has been unattended to, so without further ado, I bring to you the weekend that was Mount Mary. About a month ago now, I was piling on my frequent driver miles visiting this little gem of a winery in the Yarra Valley. If you have read my previous posts, you will know that I am no stranger to this winery and sing its praises.

Mount Mary is a family owned single vineyard estate, established by the late John and Marli Middleton in 1971. The winery is now run by their son and grandson David and Sam. John and Marli became fixated to the French wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy and made it their duty to bring these refined and elegant styles to Australia, particularly a Cabernet. According to folk lore, when the winery started up, it was intended to produce wines for close friends and family circles. But as the wines reputation grew, so did the “circle” of friends and thus the cult following of Mount Mary was formed. Even now, it seems that you can only get to the winery if you heard the whispers of the annual tastings from a lucky member and know “the secret turn off onto the road with no sign”.

Mount Mary “Quintet”, their Cabernet blend, is highly sought after among the wine collectors and enjoys the  “Exceptional” status in Langtons Classification.

On the road to Mount Mary

Our day started with a pit stop to maccas followed by the beeping of the GPS. I had rounded up as many troops as possible to storm the vineyard over the dual weekend tasting. The first weekend saw my family and my in laws whist a few friends came the next. I had the “unfortunate” duty of having to attend both days, you know, to hold their hands 😛 We got there bright and early and already there were people waiting outside the entrance or staking a heap of liquid gold in the boot of their cars. It was going to be a good day. We worked our way into the shed through the palates and barrels of wine to come face to face with the tasting table.

To the tasting table!

Mount Mary only produces four wines; a white and red mimicking Burgundy and Bordeaux. This year was to showcase the 2010 range but also to show the difficult 2009 vintage as well as a vertical tasting of their Quintets. First up, the 2010’s.

Mount Mary 2010

Triolet 2010

The first of the whites is the Triolet, a Bordeaux white blend of Sauvignon blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle. It had a rich round nose for a young wine with peach and apricot, wheat and toasted puffs. Very champagne like with a bready/toast aspect. It’s very acidic on the attack, touch of lemon peel flowing into a light mild mid palate. Seamless on the surface but with an underlying still sleeping complexity which will come with age. Finishes like grapefruit and some dried nut mix. Great wine.

Chardonnay 2010

The Chardonnay was very toasted and bready with some pistachio nuts and a touch of ash in the back. Attack is yellow peach, firm tannins in the mid with little oak influences. Finishes semi dry with some sour apricots and strawberry jam. This lacked the underlying complexity of the triolet but was very good to drink now, great for those who can’t wait hey!

Pinot Noir 2010

The pinot noir has a glacé cherry nose and developed more of a gamey aspect as you warmed it up. The air was very cold when we were tasting this and it had a major effect on the wine. Attack is firm with lacey tannins and a sour cherry complexion. Light on the palate but has a weighty flavour. A bit too light in the finish but long and broody and needs more sleep time. I like this style and needs some food to make this wine tick.

Quintet 2010

The big one, a traditional Bordeaux blend of Cab Sav, Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. This has a bit of a Ribenia nose but that’s all I got; unfortunately very closed. I tried warming this up with no avail. High acidity on the attack with bites of tannins balancing it out into a semi balanced mid palate with not enough fruit. Sour cherries are the flavour of the day with some mushrooms, socks and soil. Finishes lovely, dirty and long and almond husk. Though the noise needs developing and you may not like the taste of socks, I recommend you buy this anyways and stick in your caller for 5-8 years before touching this. You will not be disappointed.

Mount Mary Reflexion 2009

The reflexion range is a new range developed to “reflect” on the harsh year for the Yarra Valley. The fires of 2009 was a real concern for Mount Mary, fears of smoke taint, overripe grapes and not meeting the standards of the winemakers. Only the reds were produced with a “drink now” style so don’t cellar for too long.

Reflexion Pinot Noir 2009

Light nose with a slight grassy note and a bit of pear. Attack is well balanced, mid bodied and great mouthfeel with lavender and violets developing the mid palate. Finish lingers, like your amongst a field if flowers sipping apple juice. Nice wine, my guess is that it won’t last the years but great to drink now and drink with veal.

Reflexion Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Faint cranberries on the nose and some topical fruits. Attack is ripe, somewhat balanced with berry fruits and tannins coming in and out of phase. Slight white pepper, fairy floss come in at the mid palate and riper fruits again with a dash of ash or charcoal in the back. Finishes sweet and sour with a lingering grip. Nice wine again, great QPR if you want to drink now.

Generall, the Reflection range were a bolder style of wine which deviated from the finesse and elegance associated with Mount Mary. The wines did lack secondary layers of flavours but offer a great quality for price.

And now for the Pièce de résistance…

Quintet Vertical Tasting: 2004 – 2008

Quintet 2004

Insane nose. Straight away you find that you’re in a difference class of wines. Very uplifting with corn, acorns and gum nuts; dark and deep. I’m going to steal my brother’s comment that it smelt like “a gentle breeze on a summer’s day”. Look out for this on the back of the label 😉

Attack is well layered with mocha and dried fruit, apple on a cheese board. Tannins are restrained and well balanced with such complexity and poise. Some pine wood, leaves, then comes a meatyness and chewy hit at the end. Finishes up and down, seems to finish quickly but then kicks up with more earthy and wild mushroom sauce. Lovely.

Quintet 2005

Noise is lighter than the 2004, more green but still lush and rounded with rose water and star fruit. Attack is lighter, more nutty. Mid palate is balanced with a backbone of acidity and great fruit and tannin mix. Flavours of sour cherry, dirt aspects with some bark and very herbaceous. Finishes woody, delicious and more finesse than the rest of the vertical. More subtle than the 2004 and definitely on par.

Quintet 2006

The 2006 is John Middleton’s final vintage. A generally closed nose, meaty with cranberries. Attack is acidic but balanced. Very smooth, red fruits of strawberry and cherries balance out the slight white meat edge in the back with beautiful laced tannins. Finishes like dirt, earthy, light and full with restraint. Drink forever.

Quintet 2007

The “Not for Sale” vintage, usually given as a gift to their members due to the unfortunate hail in 2007. Much more your cherry here in the mose with fresh wood intertwined with grassy notes and some prunes. Attack is banning with lemon rind and very vegetal like a capsicum and orange/blood orange salad. Finish similar to the mid palate great for a bad vintage.

Quintet 2008

Rustic nose, more pungent and dirty with flecks of fairy floss and green olives. Attack is mellow, stays true to the Mount Mary style of sour cherries and strawberries but this time backed with smoked bacon and a coleslaw freshness. Finishes firm and acidic, rustic and makes me think if crusty bread.

Very difficult to rank these vintages, each bringing it to the table. I would have to go with a split finish of 2004/2006 with 2005 taking a slight third. The 2008 and then the 2007 rounds up the table.

Just to be sure, I had to taste again the following week 😉

See you next year!


Mount Mary 2010 Vintage
Mount Mary 2011 Vintage