Seven Of The Best: Montalto’s Unique and Diverse Vineyards

Montalto’s seven vineyards on the Mornington Peninsula each have their own unique characteristics, and our wines are a reflection of that fantastic diversity.
Simon Black, Winemaker

For a long time, the Mornington Peninsula was Australian wine’s best-kept secret.

It didn’t enjoy the prominence of the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra or Margaret River, but it did command the ideal climate to perfect the kind of world-class wines for which the area is known today.

Our award-winning The Eleven Chardonnay is an excellent example of that quality. Not only was it voted the best on the Peninsula by James Halliday Challenge judges, but is regarded as one of Australia’s best – at a time when Australian Chardonnay is enjoying unprecedented international recognition.

What makes wines like The Eleven so good? Mornington wineries like ours have the unique surroundings to thank.

With water on all sides, the vineyards benefit from sea breezes that help keep the temperature lower than Melbourne in summer, and milder in winter.

“That’s good for us,” says Simon. “The vines during their growing period tend to function at a nice slow and even ripening pace.”

Montalto has seven vineyards that span the diversity of the region. See the map here: Montalto_vineyards_map_A3.

And in the video above watch Simon and our general manager Anthony Jones outline the differences and benefits – for wine lovers – of this great part of Australia.

Montalto Vineyard
Our 30 acres of vineyard in Red Hill South dates back to 1985. It’s a higher and cooler site, with Pinot Noir ripening mid to late March.

The North Face is planted to P58 Chardonnay, where our beloved Eleven Single Vineyard Chardonnay delivers citrus and florals, and long, persistent flavours. It’s always a stand-out wine of elegance and refinement.

The Pinot Noir blocks ‘Lake’ and ‘Cellar Door’ form the basis of our Estate blend. Lake has hallmark blue fruit characters.

Pennon Hill on the opposing southern aspect is cooler with less sun exposure. It’s suited to the aromatic varieties Pinot Grigio and Riesling, and the ideal spot for sparkling Chardonnay.

Tuerong is a 20-year-old vineyard and our warmest site at the northern end of the Peninsula.

This is always the first block of Pinot Noir to ripen and produces a big pinot style – dark and brooding with plenty of structure.

Red and black fruits with earthy richness are the norm. Shiraz from this site is simply wonderful, and forms the backbone of our Shiraz blend.

Merricks is a Pinot dedicated vineyard that’s a consistent performer in both warm and cool/wet years.

Vines usually ripen early to mid March, and the Western Port Bay sea breeze is welcome. Stewed rhubarb and black morello cherry are the typical flavours we see.

Black Rabbit

Black Rabbit is a small 2.5 acre block at the base of a northerly slope in Red Hill South.

It’s well protected from the cool southerlies and produces fragrant, expressive Pinot Gris, which we either pick early for a grigio/gris style wine or late for a textured sweet style.

The half acre of Gamay (the traditional variety for Beaujolais) is fun to experiment with, and usually finds its way into our rose.

Main Ridge
Main Ridge is our highest and coolest site planted to Pinot Noir and Grigio.

The northerly slope helps to moderate the cooler southerly air flows, and the deep red volcanic soils deliver a totally different Pinot Noir style.

This is refined Pinot country. You’ll find spice, earth and bright fruit with perfume – totally worthy of a Single Vineyard wine.