The Principia Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay is Darrin Gaffy’s ‘Estate’ Chardonnay and one below his top tier.
Principia is a one-man operation with a vineyard that 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. The vines are not irrigated.
There is just a single Chardonnay clone planted in the vineyard. The P58 is a low cropping clone that produces fine, linear wines with intense citrus characters. Stonefruit too if given a little extra time to ripen.
The Chardonnay is whole bunch pressed. It is settled for 24 hours before being transferred to barrel for fermentation. The wine is aged for 18 months in French oak with frequent barrel stirring.
Complex and weighty style underscored by tingling grapefruit acidity. Here be stonefruit, white mint chocolate, wheatgerm and spice, in amongst other things. It’s creamy, glossy and buttery, but flinty and tight, offering intensity and concentration, and a very long finish that pulses and grips.
94 points, The Wine Front (January 2020)
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.