To drink Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir is to contemplate an ancient volcano with a cool sea breeze at your back. The Peninsula’s crab-claw like coastal stretch is washed by three waters; mildly gentle Port Phillip Bay, soupy, rough Western Port Bay and turbulent Bass Strait the lifeblood of vineyards and tasty, supple wines, tense with tannins and alive with acidity.
Across this region, winemakers learn and better understand the rich diversity of this landscape through the lens of the Pinot Noir grape. Their wines reflect volcanic soils in vineyards bound by sea and bathed in bright sunshine.
Filmmaker, Fred Schepisi grows Pinot Noir in Red Hill while across the ditch, his old mate, New Zealand actor/winemaker, Sam Neill hugs his pig while making Central Otago’s brooding and sorrowful wine. The sun is a stark signature of the Australian cinema that these men have created and just as terroir is traceable in wine, brilliant light provokes a sense of place in films shot in this hot and fragile land.
As film lovers we watch cinema from all corners of the globe. As wine lovers, we feel privileged to drink foreign made wines. As they have piqued our interest, the French have owned our palate with Burgundy wines of density and perfumed grace. French cinema explores psychology through images shot in soft, diffusing light. The cultural existence the sun plays above has Mornington Peninsula wine expressed as bright Pinot Noir with burnt berry scent, cherry-fruit and soft and silky tannins.
The hills around Main Ridge to the sea feature fertile volcanic soil formed by granulated tephra forty-five-million years ago. Today they are bathed in sunlight as brilliant as a cinematic spotlight over land. Winemakers dream of making greater wines, but they can’t just dial-up Chambertin, as these coastal slopes bear little resemblance to the revered Côte d'Or. Imitating Burgundy is not an honest interpretation of Mornington Peninsula terroir. Winemakers should seek a pure expression of complex soils, salty air, and hot summer days. Pinot Noir with energy and complexity defined by a gentle sea breeze, bright fruit and sunshine in a glass.