The Principia Kindred Hill Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir is Darrin Gaffy’s 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. There are seven clones of Pinot noir ( MV6, 115, Abel, 777, Pommard, 114 and D2v5). The vines are not irrigated.
A small crusher-de-stemmer 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.
There's always a restraint to the suite of pinots from Principia even if this falls into the fuller and fleshier camp, it's still ethereal. Tastes more of whole-bunches/berries, tangy and sapid with cherries and pips, blood orange and zest yet savoury. Then svelte tannins and acidity glide as one across the palate leaving a craving for another sip.
96 points, Wine Companion (February 2019)
Ripe strawberries and cream, spice, mint and dried peel, some floral notes too. Soft and supple, a little squishy in fruit profile, but some pleasant bitterness of bark and blood orange pushes it in the right direction. It’s cool and clear, yet has warmth and persistence. Light chalky tannin trails. Distinct personality and point of difference here.
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.