Along with Yarra Yering & Yeringberg, Mount Mary is one of the pioneers of the Yarra Valley Renaissance. Their wines have a degree of sophistication, grace, complexity and depth of flavour that is always enticing!
Mount Mary is a landmark estate not just of the Yarra Valley but of Australian wine history. In 1971 Dr John Middleton homed in on a site that could grow great wine, and identified a style that suited that site – and that people loved to drink, collect and share.
Before turning to winemaking he practised medicine and worked on occasion with my Dad. In the early days, his wines were perhaps less enticing than they are today. It didn’t take long for him to turn things around, and, for decades now Mount Mary has been producing benchmark Australian and world wine.
The Middleton family has steadfastly stuck to its regiment of individuality and unimpeachable quality through decades of purposeful, visionary hard work. It’s not right to say the reputation has endured; it has advanced.
This isn’t an estate of the past – it’s one of the here and now, and of the future. The ongoing work they are investing in developing their vineyards, discovering new clonal and rootstock combinations to combat phylloxera is at the forefront of efforts in the Yarra Valley.
The 2016 Vintage
2016 was a unique season in the Yarra Valley. Like others, Mount Mary has generally seen the date of their first pick creep forward, making for more compressed harvests. The 2016 season was one of the shortest vintages the Middletons have experienced, with 90% of the fruit coming off the vine in the space of just 10 days. Typically, this would take more like four to six weeks.
“In such a season, the advantages of being small and having absolute control over the vineyard is critical in the pursuit of producing the highest quality of wine possible,” says Sam Middleton.
“Compromising picking dates in seasons where ripening occurs extremely quickly can have devastating effects on quality and drastically change the wine stylistically.”
This is, above all, one of the most significant advantages of a small, family-run Domaine. “Here at Mount Mary, without fail, each and every variety we grow is picked at optimum ripeness, regardless of seasonal differences,” Sam continues. “We believe this is the key to making highly consistent wines from year to year.”