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Top of the Mornington

Published:  23 July, 2008

Don't worry if you have no idea where the Mornington Peninsula is, you are in good company: it appears even Robert Parker has yet to discover the region's existence. In his latest review of Australian wines in The Wine Advocate he had space to review 21 wines (yes, 21!) from a single estate - D'Arenberg (McLaren Vale) - and even Oxford Landing came in for a remarkably good assessment.

Inevitably growers are experimenting with a whole gamut of international varieties, from Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Viognier to Cabernet Sauvignon, but they do not match the quality of the Pinots and the Chardonnay. Winemakers in the area have - and should continue - to concentrate on the varietals they do best (some other Australian regions should take note). But there's always a but - Garry Crittenden's 'i' (for Italian) label can boast some of the best Sangiovese and Arneis being produced in Oz and they are now available in the UK.

Several British importers have already recognised the area's calibre. While production levels in Mornington are still small and uncommercialised in comparison with the Yarra Valley, you can still pick up a bottle of Dromana Pinot Noir from the excellent 2003 vintage for under a tenner. The quality of the wines is consistently high and with so much dross being churned out with 'Yarra' on the label, it is a safer bet to search out a bottle from the Mornington Peninsula and you'll be pleased as punch with your Pinot purchase. Just don't let Robert Parker know