Montalto was one of the first wineries I visited, all the way back in 2005. Even then they had garnered much praise for their restaurant which continues to be one of the best on the Mornington Peninsula. The winery received five stars from Australian Wine Icon James Halliday, and from memory this had much to do with the superior site selection and vine age, and less with winemaking. Back then the fruit would be loaded up and ferried across Port Phillip Bay to the Bellarine Peninsula based Scotchman’s Hill winery.
In an effort to improve quality the owners made two important decisions. The first was to build their own winery within the region, and the second was to appoint Simon Black as the winemaker. In the last few years Simon has been making some changes to how the wines are made, such as keeping parcels separate, allowing oxidative handling, encouraging lees contact (even using previous vintage lees), and careful use of oak. At this stage I am liking the direction the wines are going as they distinguish themselves from much of the region’s wines. It is still early days and there is a lot of improvement to come in terms of quality and personality.
Pennon Hill Chardonnay 2012
Clean pure stone fruit classic Mornington fruit profile, a hint of malo fat old oak. Full and textured, fruit not broad or flabby, nor sweet. Certainly going for more texture and savoury, but possibly a tad brutish at the moment. Cheese rind plain yoghurt.
Estate Chardonnay 2012
Tighter more brooding subtlety, oakier density, toastier salted butter. Rounder yet more focused through the mid-palate, more integrated texture and savoury notes, maturity of citrus fruit.
Pennon Hill Pinot Noir 2012
Bright ruby black cherry blood plum. Purity zing freshness, straight, not fat or fruit-sweet, not grainy or broad.
Estate Pinot Noir 2012
Darker sweeter fruit profile, juicier esters. Bolder fuller body and texture, builds a bit more on the palate, more length with integrated oak. Enough fruit generosity? Too much savoury texture?