GATHER ROUND GEOLOGY NERDS…
Planet Earth’s Eocene epoch lasted from 56.5 to 35.4 million years ago. At the beginning of the Eocene, Gondwana, the ancient supercontinent from which our country was formed, had been splitting apart for some time, however Australia and Antarctica remained joined. Fast-forward to around 40 million years ago (plus a few extra details that we won’t delve into here…), Antarctica eventually split away from Australia and drifted south, creating a large, ridged valley, exposing the volcanic seams that then deposited lava flows around the more elevated parts of what we now know as the Mornington Peninsula.
Fast forward again, to 1996, and this geological division in time played a very significant role in the decision Paul and Caroline Scorpo made to start planting vines on the Merricks North site they now call their home. They spent four years searching for the ideal site for their vineyard, and after extensively researching the Mornington Peninsula’s cool, maritime microclimates, it was the rare soil profile in this higher part of the Peninsula that helped seal the deal.
The Scorpo vineyard, after millions of years of weathering post-Eocene epoch, rolls over red/brown iron-rich, well-draining clay-loam soils. But, the true beauty of this site lies in its diversity. The Eocene volcanics have created a sub-terranian mosaic, meaning that distinctive parts of the site express distinctive differences in fruit.
It was these sharp distinctions that lead Paul to recognise that there were three extra-exceptional wines from this vineyard, discreetly hiding within the already exceptional Estate wines grown and released each year. And from this, the Scorpo Vineyard-Selection wines were born. Only released in outstanding years, 2021 allowed Paul to release the full trio, which we are thrilled to present to you today.
Vintage 2021 was the 24th year for these vines. The roots are now deep into our mineral-rich, older volcanic soils. The weather was as in past classic years, and the resulting grapes verged on the sublime.
Bacchus gave us good weather and the vineyard responded by producing complex fruit that was picked at maximum freshness and flavour, verging on the sublime. One of the pickers described it as “very yummy” fruit. The wine reflects that and more. What stands out in the wines are their concentration, tension and finesse. – Paul Scorpo
2021 Scorpo Eocene Chardonnay RRP $83
A blend of clones 95, I10 and P58, from mature vines on the north/north-east facing slope of the original vineyard planted on the Scorpo property in Merricks North. The 2021 Eocene was hand-picked on March 4, 2021, and processed the following day. The grapes were pressed as whole bunches and went straight to barrel (20% new oak). It underwent natural fermentation with no malolatic fermentation or lees stirring. There was a yield of 4.5 tonnes. Filtered, not fined.
A classic vintage. Lovely pale straw colour showing delicate lifted florals highlighted by an inkling of citrus blossom. A hint of fennel spice adds complexity. Some pure lemon juice/rind characters are supported by creamy, leesy, almond meal elements on the palate. Very balanced with a mouthwatering refreshing finish. – Paul Scorpo
Don’t be fooled by the fine acidity, the length of this wine and its precision. It has plenty of punch with quality fruit, spicy oak and lovely nutty, leesy flavours. It’s just that everything is packaged up so well and the result? Harmony. 96 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion
2021 Scorpo Eocene Original Vineyard Pinot Noir RRP $93
100% MV6 Pinot Noir from Paul Scorpo’s original (1997) plantings. The 2021 Eocene MV6 clone Pinot Noir was hand-picked on March 20, 2021 and prosessed the following day. It was left on ski nfor 23 days and cold soaked for 4 days. 15% whole bunch, and fermented in concrete with wild yeast. There’s 25% new oak, and it did not undergo any filtration. It was bottled Feb 2, 2022.
A striking wine that reflects power and grace. The nose sings with raspberries, red currents, plums, cranberries, as these fruits sit above a generous presence of toast and graphite, then all this balanced out with a gentle touch of roses and jasmine. The palate is plush, exhibiting intense fresh raspberries, cherries and boysenberries whilst again combining muscle and grace. Abundant velvet tannins, connectd by a farm acid line and supreme legth drive this wine home with every detail is in its right place. – Paul Scorpo
At first, it comes across as powerful with some meaty reduction, a little charry and tannins holding sway. Then it shifts, unfurls and becomes far more revealing. Theres gloss and smoothness across the palate with black cherries, savoury spices and herbs and a smidge of radicchio. Yes, it has structure but it is also seductive. 96 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion
2021 Scorpo Old Cherry Orchard Pinot Noir RRP $93
The fruit is grown on the iron-rich soils of Paul Scorpo’s high-density Pinot Noir block planted to Abel clone at a density of 10,000 vines per hectare. This site was originally a very high quality, high yielding orchard and what Paul Scorpo identified as ‘magic dirt’.
The Cherry Orchard Pinot Noir was hand-picked on March 12, 2021 and processed the following day. 15% whole bunch, and cold soaked for 4 days. Left of skins for 21 days. Fermented in concrete with wild yeast. It’s seen 25% new oak, no filtration. Bottled Feb 4, 2022.
This wine is layered, nuanced, regal and expressive. The red fruit driven nose is concentrated, yet still lifted, fresh and open. Sour cherries, cranberries and red currents all feature heavily on the nose, while on the palate, cherries, boysenberries and blood orange add to the complexity. The tannins are round, plush and plentiful, complimenting the fleshy and integrated nature of the wine.
This is up there as one of the finest pinots from the peninsula this vintage. Its beautiful and stately at the same time. Deep flavours of cherries and pips, blood orange and Angostura bitters, mint and spicy oak just mingling in the background. Persuasive tannins, textural and lithe join up with refreshing acidity to ensure the finish is long and satisfying. Yep, a humdinger. 97 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion