Mornington Peninsula Wine Show unearths hidden gems among its regional stars

The 2023 Mornington Peninsula Wine Show Winners. Image courtesy Mornington Peninsula Wine Show.

Celebrating its ten-year anniversary, the 2023 Mornington Peninsula Wine Show has revealed its winners. This year, the competition introduced two new awards for Best Rosé and Best Small Winemaker, highlighting the growing diversity of wine styles and winemaking talent across the region.

The inaugural Best Small Winemaker Trophy was awarded to Yal Yal Estate, owned by wife-and-husband team, Liz and Simon Gillies, and crafted by local legend Rollo Crittenden. The award is open to wineries that produce under 20 tonnes, with the score based on an average from at least three submitted wines. It provides an opportunity to celebrate emerging and boutique wineries alongside renowned regional names. Yal Yal Estate scored an impressive 91.3 across its four wines entered.

The other new trophy, Best Rosé, was won by Baillieu Vineyard for its 2023 Baillieu Rosé made from a blend of Pinot Noir (61%), Meunier (23%) and Shiraz (16%).

Crittenden Estate continued its winning streak, taking home the trophy for Best Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris for its 2023 Crittenden Peninsula Pinot Gris for the third consecutive year, while Port Phillip Estate’s Morillon Chardonnay secured the Chardonnay trophy. Additionally, Yabby Lake proved its strength as a sparkling producer, winning Best Sparkling Wine for its 2018 Yabby Lake Single Vineyard Cuvée Nina.

A highlight of the show is the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Provenance Awards. These awards highlight the enduring quality and consistency of both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir throughout the years. Paringa Estate claimed the Chardonnay trophy for its Paringa Chardonnay vintages 2022, 2021, and 2018 also winning best White Varietal or Blend with its 2023 Paringa Estate ‘Estate’ Riesling

Montalto secured the Pinot Noir Provenance Award for the second year in a row, for its 2022, 2017, and 2015 Montalto Tuerong Pinot Noir.

Chief judge, Dan Buckle, emphasised his interest in the wide array of varieties and styles showcased at this year’s event, attributing this diversity to the unique characteristics provided by the region’s sites and sub-regions.

“The Mornington Peninsula is primarily celebrated for its exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay,” Buckle remarked. “However, it was thrilling to discover such vibrant sparkling wines, cool vintage Pinot Gris, and Riesling wines, crafted by a group of skilled winemakers and vignerons highlighting the diversity of the individual sites and sub-regions.”

He further noted, “The ‘Wines of Provenance’ categories are always a highlight and are particularly significant for wineries. Winning in these classes demonstrates consistent quality, guiding customers to dependable wine choices throughout different vintages.”

The Mornington Peninsula Wine Show Lunch and Trophy Presentation was hosted at the Jackalope Hotel, and brought together over 120 local wine producers.

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