The Mornington Peninsula
Red Hill Estate on the Mornington Peninsula
Located near the southernmost tip of Australia’s mainland, the Mornington Peninsula is an extraordinary piece of real estate. Surrounded by water on three sides the climate is cool. Depending on which way the wind is blowing, the area is subject to cool breezes from the North and West across the vast expanses of Port Phillip Bay, from the East across the Tasman Sea or the South and East of the Bass Strait. The landscape is grassy, lush and open with gently rolling hills. Soil types can be red and organic, sandy in some areas or well drained clay with sandy loam topsoil. Temperature is moderate and evenly spread throughout the area. The cool climate and location is great for producing varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a distinctive style because of consistent temperature maturation in rich soil. And don’t forget their terrific sparkling wines, and Red Hill Estate produces a lovely Blanc de Blanc.
North and West of the Mornington Peninsula and about 1½ hours drive southwest of Melbourne, Geelong was first planted with vines in the 1850’s. This area is generally flat and open and with its closeness to the sea is very similar in temperature and terrain to the areas of Bordeaux and Burgundy in France. Many vineyards have been established near the rivers. Soil types are varied with most having the presence of limestone for acidity. There are longer hours of sunshine in Geelong than France and usually dry autumns mean the grapes are not rushed to ripeness. The area is best known for the production of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varietals with the Pinot being comparable to a good French red wine..
Taltarnie Estate in the Pyrenees
Although the name conjures up a vision of dramatic mountain ranges and slopes, the Australian Pyrenees region is actually located in an area in central Victoria that consists of a series of gentle slopes. Most of the vineyards are located in the valleys which provides a temperate climate and because of the inland location, low summer humidity. The area has lower summer temperatures and long hours of sunshine but the rainfall can be unpredictable. Soils are heavy and acidic and sprinkled with red loams. The location characteristics and the need for controlled irrigation make the Pyrenees perfectly suited for the makers of white and terrific Australian sparkling wines.