The Principia Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir is Darrin Gaffy’s ‘Estate’ Pinot and the one below his top tier.
Principia is a one-man operation and its vineyard sits at 220-metres above sea level, facing northeast on older volcanic red, brown and orange silty clays. First plantings were in1995, followed by more in 1996 and 2000. There are seven clones of Pinot noir ( MV6, 115, Abel, 777, Pommard, 114 and D2v5). The vines are not irrigated.
A small crusher-destemmer is used for processing the Pinot Noir and fermentation occurs in open fermenters with hand plunging and pigeage. The temperature of the ferments ranges from 26 to 34°C. After approximately 20 days total vat time, the must is pressed using a basket press. The wine is racked following Malolactic Fermentation (MLF) and aged in French oak (using only Burgundian coopers) for a minimum of 18 months prior to bottling.
From the first sip, smitten. Swooning aromas of spiced cherries, Campari and blood-orange with some forest floor complexity. The lighter-framed palate is gentle with fine, lithe tannins and a savoury twist to the finish.
95 points, Wine Companion (February 2019)
Red cherry, strawberry, orange peel, aniseed, discreet spicy oak. It’s sappy and juicy, aromatic herbal complexity, kind of like a good amaro, but lighter and full of energy, blood orange and quinine, a dusting of fine powdery tannin, sure length. A whole heap of personality delivered in an ‘adult’ style. Brisk. Very good.
94 points, The Wine Front (November 2019)
The Mornington Peninsula is located approximately one hour south of Melbourne. A cool maritime climate,the region is virtually frost free, but is susceptible to high winds. Rainfall is moderate, throughout winter and the growing season. Most of the vineyards are located between just above sea level and 200 metres. Soils range from weathered volcanic soils to sandy loams and friable well-drained clays. Mornington Peninsula is best known for making elegant cool climate Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and sublime Pinot Noir.