“White Bordeaux blends don’t come much better than this. 96 points.” Gary Walsh, The Wine Front on Triolet
“Just when you think the Mount Mary wines can’t get any better (at the point of release), they do. 98 points.” James Halliday on Chardonnay
“Not a hair out of place, all the boxes with big ticks. The length is awesome. 98 points.” Halliday on Pinot Noir
“Mesmerisingly silky, with a kaleidoscope of fruit and secondary flavours. 99 points.” Halliday on Quintet
The consensus seems to be that the Quintet edged it again. “If there were a dictionary of wine, this would be listed under the word ‘class’.” That was Gary Walsh’s view. His Wine Front teammate Campbell Mattinson declared that it might be his wine of the year, while James Halliday pronounced it the best Bordeaux blend released in Australia this year. But such is the trajectory at Mount Mary, there’s nothing but bright spots among this relentlessly awesome foursome from the Middleton family’s hallowed patch.
It’s a fool’s errand to go summarising a region’s harvest, and 2018 certainly defied lazy categorisation in the Yarra. 2017 concluded with high rainfall, which gave way to a hot, dry first quarter of the new year. No matter what Mother Nature had in mind, Mount Mary had thoughts only of perfection, or thereabouts. They achieved this with “a charming, ripe and glossy vintage of Triolet” and “excellent” Chardonnay, according to Gary Walsh. Reds, then? “Gee, they’ve turned out a very good Pinot Noir in 2018,” the same scribe commented. And Quintet… well, you’ve already heard how that turned out.
The quality – and dedication to attaining it every time – is staggering at this estate. No one here takes it for granted. The Middletons are buoyed by the popularity of the wines, and sincerely grateful to their fans everywhere. Nothing will get in the way of their striving for greatness – but it’s refreshing to note that the wines are, if anything, feeling ever more assured and relaxed.
It’s the ideal balance, really, that Mount Mary has found – and which we are now proud to present to you.
The 2018 Season
The start of the 2018 growing season in the Yarra Valley saw particularly high rainfall in November and December (2017). Having successfully navigated our way through a period of excessively high disease pressure in the vineyard we were optimistic about the rest of the season with such fantastic water content in our soils. What we weren’t to know was the rain we received around Christmas time would be our last major rain event for over three months!
Coupled with this extremely dry and warm three months were bigger than average crops, resulting in a very busy green harvest period. In some of the heavier blocks we dropped up to 50% of the fruit on the ground. This is a critical process in such a year to return balance to the vines and ensure we produce the highest quality of wine we possibly can. – Sam Middleton, Mount Mary
The Wines Released on Monday, 26th October 2020
2018 Mount Mary Triolet RRP $100
68% Sauvignon Blanc, 24% Semillon and 8% Muscadelle. The Triolet varieties just seem to thrive in the warmer Yarra vintages. This is a Triolet for the ages that we cannot wait to revisit two decades from now. The 2018 Triolet opens with some customary reduction but quickly dissipates to reveal an extremely aromatic and complex nose. Fresh lime and other citrus notes dominate along with white grapefruit and floral nuances largely contributed by the Muscadelle, which seems to be particularly prominent in this young Triolet. There is a burst of flavour on the palate, again lime with pear, green apple, and lemongrass all play a part in the flavour profile along with a slight hint of oak (no new barrels, just some second fills). The acid is firm and focused along with the phenolics giving the wine great length and drive. – Sam Middleton, Mount Mary
It’s a charming, ripe and glossy vintage of Triolet, so smooth and flavoursome, but still has grip and juicy acidity. Lime and lemon curd, some spice and lemongrass, crunch of green apple acidity, a subtle hay/grassy element in there too. Finish is long, floral/vanilla scented, and silky, with a cinch of quinine-like bitterness adding refreshment. White Bordeaux blends don’t come much better than this. 96 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
An estate-grown blend of 68% sauvignon blanc, 24% Semillon and 8% muscadelle, matured for 11 months in barrel. Has exceptional drive, complexity and balance, its longevity proved by multi-vintage vertical tastings. Its backbone of acidity has ample lemon/lemon curd/fresh-cut grass to encourage a second glass. 95 points. James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2021
2018 Mount Mary Chardonnay RRP $120
Often in warmer, drier seasons we tend to pick the Chardonnay earlier than we perhaps otherwise would to control the effects of a dry and warm growing season (so important in the preservation of natural acid). During ripening under such conditions, flavours develop quicker and acids degrade faster. The 2018 Chardonnay has managed to keep its all-important natural acid line, remaining fresh and focused but also full flavoured from the warmer growing season conditions. The nose shows an array of complexities opening with toasty oak characters along with a smattering of flint/struck match.
But swiftly pushing these secondary characteristics to the side is intense primary fruit of lime, seared pear and grapefruit. There are some honey and crème brûlée aromas also present here. As is the case with the Triolet, it is an explosion of flavour on the palate. There are flavours of honey, ripe pear, grapefruit, toast and almond meal. There is a depth and richness to this wine that is held firmly in check by the strict acid line that runs through the core, adding freshness and length. – Sam Middleton, Mount Mary
Plenty of struck match, lime, almond, and white flowers (including vanilla, of course). It’s full of flavour, albeit set to a somewhat tangy and grapefruity expression, with plenty of grip and grainy texture, lime rind, spice and some honey water sweetness. Finish is long and intense, with a tonic-like twang, and zesty appeal. Excellent. Needs a couple of years to settle down. 95 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Multiple clones, hand-picked, crushed and destemmed, fermented French oak (30% new), matured for 11 months. Pale straw-green; extremely focused and wrapped in a skein of citrussy acidity, the palate of extreme length, its future guaranteed by its screwcap. Just when you think the Mount Mary wines can’t get any better (at the point of release), they do. 98 points. James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2021
2018 Mount Mary Pinot Noir RRP $165
Mount Mary Pinot Noir has always walked a fine line between bright, fresh primary fruit and darker, earthy secondary complexities. The fruit grown in our vineyard naturally lends itself so well to this style. We choose to work with these characteristics in the winery rather than push the wines in another direction. We have made this style of Pinot Noir for 40 years now. Any changes in winemaking follow the pursuit of perfecting and improving within this style.
This wine speaks volumes about what it is we are striving to achieve in the context of Pinot Noir. The nose opens with hints of strawberry, blackcurrant, quince, spice and some toasty oak flavours. There are many layers to the palate which shows a certain density/viscosity which we have watched build in bottle over the past 12 months. The palate is packed with flavours of strawberry, cherry and rhubarb along with earthy, spicy complexities. Through all this is an interwoven soft tannic structure giving the wine grip, length and longevity. – Sam Middleton, Mount Mary
Gee, they’ve turned out a very good Pinot Noir in 2018. Strawberries, roses, cinnamon toast and biscuits, a whisper of undergrowth. Medium-bodied, autumnal feel, a little rhubarb, coolness and ‘mineral’ feel, finesse to the acidity and supremely ‘elegant’ feel to the wine, fine graphite tannin, and a wonderfully long and fragrant strawberry and spice finish. Gee, this is a special wine. I’m smitten. 96 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Bunch-sorted on vibrating tables, Oscillys-destemmed whole berries, 10-14 days on skins, matured 14-18 months in oak (25% new). Not a hair out of place, all the boxes with big ticks. A perfumed bouquet with rose petals and tantalising hints of forest, the vibrantly fresh palate with a diamond-clear stream of red fruits and spices. The length is awesome. 98 points. James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2021
2018 Mount Mary Quintet RRP $165
44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot. Our passion and commitment toward the Bordeaux family of grapes and their suitability to the Yarra Valley remains as strong as ever. The drier half of the 2018 growing season was so perfectly suited to the Quintet varieties. We feel in time the 2018 will be considered in the top echelon of all Quintets produced since the inaugural commercial release in 1976. It has a strikingly deep, vibrant hue when poured into the glass and such an energy that runs through both the aromatics and the palate. The nose shows all the hallmark characteristics of our Quintet blend from the great vintages; cassis, cherry, chocolate and a hint of varietal Yarra Cabernet leafiness are all present in the aroma profile. The palate is medium weight but with such intensity and concentration. There is a real complexity of fruit flavours interwoven with balanced oak and coupled with that quintessential Quintet structure (soft but grainy, persistent tannin). – Sam Middleton, Mount Mary
Cabernet and Family Varietal Winner, 2021 Halliday Wine Companion Awards
Blackcurrant, cherry, raspberry, violet, an empty box of chocolates, and subtle leafy perfume. Medium-bodied, deft and delivery of intense small-berried red and black fruit, tobacco and dried flowers with a discreet seasoning of cocoa, embroidered with pure and vital acidity, fine carbon tannin, and a supremely long and fresh finish. If there were a dictionary of wine, this would be listed under the word ‘class’. 97+ points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Stands proudly at the head of the Mount Mary portfolio. A blend of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc and 5% each of Malbec and Petit Verdot, each variety handled according to its structure. Open/static fermenters, wood/stainless steel, 10-14 days on skins, 35% new oak from a range of coopers and forests, 16-20 months in barrel. Mesmerisingly silky, with a kaleidoscope of fruit and secondary flavours. 99 points. James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2021