The Mount Mary release is a haven. It’s a fixture on the calendar – a marker of time, and a landmark on the Australian wine scene that you can take your bearings from.
But while devoted to a place, the Middletons are far from stuck in time. They continue to take strides towards a bright future, ensuring they’ll always be something we can count on and look forward to.
Sustainability has been a major focus over for the past five years across every aspect of the business.
The family took another major leap forward in the 2020/21 growing season with the complete elimination of herbicides. They’re committed to furthering their organic practices and hope to one day achieve certification. They continue to make their own compost and straw mulch onsite to spread throughout the vineyard. And they’re implementing an integrated pest management system to control Light Brown Apple Moth through the use of pheromone traps and the release of trichogramma wasps.
Tackling Downy Mildew continues to be the most difficult hurdle in achieving their organic goal – but don’t doubt for a second their focus and determination. They’ll continue to eliminate systemic fungicides from their spray program in line with last vintage.
Mount Mary was one of the first Yarra Valley vineyards to commit to planting on rootstock, with the Middletons’ first block planted in 2003. About a half of the vineyard area is planted to rootstock, leaving them well set up if and when Phylloxera rears its ugly head on the property. These plantings now sit around 10-15 years of age on average.
Their redevelopment plan continues to progress each year, too. They’re also grafting established vineyards to new varieties or planting entirely new blocks on new sites. They continue to experiment with vine density through these new blocks to see what affect this has on their wines. And they’ve also adopted a new pruning technique which they hope will reduce trunk disease, and over time increase average vine age across the property.
The winery is equipped with a 30KW solar system supported by 60KW of battery storage, making it self-sufficient for electricity. The Middletons will keep working towards their goal of a carbon neutral position across the business.
So as you enjoy tasting these 2019s – and you will – you can rest assured that there’s a great deal to look forward to. The vineyard has never been in finer fettle, and it’s only going to get better. And the wines you have – like these young one’s we’re thrilled to unveil – will give pleasure for decades to come.
The 2019 growing season was one of extreme contrast in the Yarra Valley. We experienced a fairly severe frost in mid-September which unfortunately resulted in a 10-15% crop loss through our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. December proved to be very wet and humid resulting in some early-season disease pressure. What then followed was one of the warmest Januarys we have on record. This involved a string of days tipping the mercury over 35˚C. Some vintages just seem to produce wines that defy the climatic conditions and we believe 2019 is one that fits this mould.
The 2019 wines will hold a special place in the lineage of vintages we have produced since the first release in 1976. The 2019 season delivered a pleasingly even spread of quality across all varieties grown here at Mount Mary. Both the red wines show a fantastic level of fruit ripeness in combination with a piercing purity and focus. The whites follow in the same vein with exceptional concentration of flavour, pristine acidity and freshness. – Sam Middleton, Mount Mary
2019 Mount Mary Triolet RRP $100
65% Sauvignon Blanc; 25% Semillon; 10% Muscadelle. The 2019 Triolet is somewhat defined by the explosive complexity of aromatics that burst from the glass. Some leaner lime, grapefruit and freshly cut grass aromatics combine with passionfruit and green apple characters, giving this wine so much intrigue on the nose. There is also a savoury element of slate, seashells and beeswax.
The palate shows brilliant intensity of flavour but is held in check by a strict line of acidity. It follows on with flavours of lime, stone fruit, nashi pear and lees-derived complexities adding a creaminess in the mouth. The phenolics are perhaps a little understated compared with previous vintages but are still present, offering texture and grip on the particularly long finish. – Sam Middleton, Mount Mary
Delicate, yet flavoursome. It has a fine glossy gently glycerol texture that’s shot through with flint, and pure cool acidity. A subtle fennel frond perfume, discreet pine-lime flavour, perfume of vanilla bean and sweet dried herb, and a bell clear finish of superb length. Graceful and so lovely to drink. A top release. 96 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front August 2021
65/25/10% Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon/Muscadelle. Often nervy and tight on release, this is taut, linear and refreshingly dry. It does open up to reveal its savouriness, although there’s a touch of lemon meringue pie, without the sweetness of course. It’s mouth-watering, complex, compelling and unique. 95 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2022
2019 Mount Mary Chardonnay RRP $131
The 2019 Chardonnay is defined by its finesse and purity and, at this point in time, suggests nothing of the warmer vintage. Aromatically it is a little closed at first but opens up and fully expresses itself with time in the glass. The nose shows some preserved lemon, pear, white peach, cashew nuts and subtle toasty oak complexities.
The palate is only medium-bodied but exhibits exceptional length of flavour and persistence. There are primary fruit flavours of pear, melon and grapefruit paired with savoury spice undertones, nuts and buttered toast. There is already an appealing balance to this wine with phenolics, acidity, primary fruit and secondary complexity all neatly pieced together. – Sam Middleton, Mount Mary
Five clones; hand-picked, destemmed/crushed, barrel fermented in French oak (30% new), 11 months’ maturation. Gleaming straw-green; it’s a wine of exceptional intensity that steadily increases through to the finish and aftertaste. White peach leads, grapefruit following with the acidity. Hallmark Mount Mary. 13% alc; screwcap, drink to 2030. 97 points. James Halliday, Weekend Australian May 2021
The best Chardonnay wines, at least for me, combine flavour with lightness, and nothing too overt happening in the winemaking process, and if this criteria is important to others too, then this release romps it home. There’s a flicker of struck match, peach and citrus, with a subtle overlay of vanilla and spiced oak. It’s glossy, but tight and chalky too, almond paste and crunch of limey acidity, with a touch of savoury complexity. It’s almost juicy in its delivery of flavour, but never steps over the line. The finish is very long, all nougat and ripe Chardonnay flavour, and leaves you wanting more. What more could you want? 96 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front August 2021
There must be some magic dust landing on Mount Mary or rather, its Chardonnay site. Latterly, this has just been rockin’ it. No different this year: a pristine, refined and ultra-elegant wine. A harmonious offering of citrus and light creamy leesy flavours, spice and vanilla-pod oak. The succulence via acidity ensures it lingers long. I got goosebumps tasting this. 97 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2022
2019 Mount Mary Pinot Noir RRP $176
One of the most brilliant characteristics of Pinot Noir as a variety is that it tends to reflect and express the season more clearly than any other variety. The 2019 Pinot Noir shows some riper, more robust characters than are typical of Mount Mary Pinot Noir, while still carrying our hallmark elegance and purity. On the nose there are stewed plums, quince, cherry liqueur, sauté mushroom and spice.
The palate is rich, decadent, silky and seamless. There are flavours of plum, stewed strawberry, cherries and fine-grained toasty oak which will meld with the wine a little more with time in bottle. Currently, primary fruit characteristics feature more prominently in this wine over secondary characters of earth and undergrowth. Expect these savoury elements to become more obvious as the primary fruit subsides over the coming years. – Sam Middleton, Mount Mary
A fragrant, perfumed bouquet and palate with cherry plum and berry fruit has hallmark length; French oak (25% new) and ultra-fine tannins give it a beguiling complexity; the spices will build over years to come. 13% alc; cork, drink to 2034. 97 points. James Halliday, Weekend Australian May 2021
All the squishy red fruits, five spice, with something of an autumnal character here too. It’s medium-bodied, sweet uptake of poached red fruits and cherry, but fresh with it, and the tannin is sure-footed with an emery board feel, the finish sweet, long, and supple. Quite forward in a way, but very charming. 94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front August 2021
The light ruby hue belies the whorl of intense flavour. Pretty aromatics. It bursts out with raspberries and cherries, then richer strawberry compote infused with bitter herbs, cloves and sarsaparilla. French oak is neatly tucked away, but acts as a support, while superfine tannins glide across a lighter- to medium-bodied frame. A beautiful and beguiling wine. 96 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2022
2019 Mount Mary Quintet RRP $176
44% Cabernet Sauvignon; 30% Merlot; 16% Cabernet Franc; 5% Malbec; 5% Petit Verdot. The 2019 season could not have been more perfectly suited to ripening the five left-bank Bordeaux varieties which feature in this wine. The colour is strikingly deep and vibrant at this young age. On the nose this wine shows a ripe, dark-fruit spectrum courtesy of the warmer growing season conditions. The aromatics include scents of blackcurrant, cassis, violets, cherry, cocoa and a pleasing level of Cabernet ‘leafiness’ adding to the wine’s aromatic complexity.
The palate is defined by incredible purity of fruit, a hallmark of our flagship Quintet blend. It shows flavours of plums, raspberry, chocolate and hints of mint. The tannins are so fine and pure yet give this wine brilliant texture, energy and longevity.
44/30/16/5/5% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot; its superb colour promises all that is delivered by this utterly glorious wine, every detail perfect. Cassis, blackcurrant, black olive, bay leaf and cedar rest on a cushion of polished tannins, its harmony and balance faultless. 13% alc; cork, drink to 2041. 98 points. James Halliday, Weekend Australian May 2021
My word. Head-spinning perfume, pencils and spice, rich deep dark berry flavour, aniseed and almond paste. Medium-bodied, density delivered with effortless elegance, delicious nutty chew to its carpet of ripe tannin, a mix of red and black fruits, and an exotic character to a finish of outstanding length. Incredible. 97 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front August 2021
A quintet of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc and 5% each of Malbec and Petit Verdot, all in harmony. Heady aromatics, the fruit pristine and lightly spiced. But it’s the medium-bodied palate that really woos: focused and seamless with superfine yet detailed tannins. Of course it has the beauty and charm of youth but age will send this to another level. Did I mention elegance? Tick. 98 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2022