Mount Mary Vertical Relived

Mount Mary Vertical Relived

Another great night of rare and vintage wines with some very good food. This dinner was put together with Mark Wickman Adelaide. The Bordeaux were chosen based on the type of wines that Mount Mary are often compared to from this French region. The 1964 Brane Cantenac was a special wine that was likely drank a number of times by Dr John Middleton while spending time in the Medoc region of France during the mid to late 1960’s. It is these Medoc wines which he drank that so impressed him and upon his return to Australia, along with a number of conversations with the great Colin Preece, Dr Middleton decided to start a vineyard and make wine. He choose a site and planted the vines with the aim to make similar styled medium bodied Cabernet as those which he drank during his time in the Medoc.  The notes below are courtesy of David English. Thank you to everyone who attended and I look forward to seeing you all again. Also special thanks to Mark Wickman for making the trip up to Sydney and for supplying the Mount Mary Wines.

Last night was the Rare Wine Dinners Mt Mary and Bordeaux Dinner (done in conjunction with Wickmans Wine Auctions). This was held at Studio Neon ( which is a small studio that provides a unique space for both photographers and restaurateurs. The cab driver was a bit perplexed when he dropped me off as there is nothing there except an unmarked door with a huge 136 painted next to it, he asked me if I was at the right place.

I’ll speak about the restaurant and food first then the wines. The venture is by Aaron Teece and Richard Robinson so it’s a cross between a Chef’s Table and a Private Function. You get to watch them cook and prepare, they bring out the plates to you and clean up afterwards and then sit down and discuss the food after each course, a bit like having one of your mates do a dinner party who happens to be a 3-Star Restaurant Chef. To have them explain the inspiration and why’s of their food was unique; to explaining the techniques behind sous vide cooking wagyu blade steaks for 12 hours while maintaining a gloriously medium-rare centre. To the trips to farmers and growers and stories of foraging for mushrooms and the like all add to the experience of what you are eating.

Suffice to say the food was top notch, it was earthy, back to basics fare with a twist and very well thought out. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos. The Wagyu was sublime.

Pressed Octopus, sour carrot, toasted coriander, mandarin puree
Organic Wagyu Feather Blade, red cabbage, horseradish, toasted rye and smoked onion puree.
Three Cheese Selection with crackers, grains lavosh
Peach Melba

As to the wines, the line up was as following

NV Perrier Jouet, Champagne, France
1992 Tollinche Freres, Saint Aubin 1er Cru, Burgundy, France
1979 Pistorius, Gevrey Chambertin AC, Burgundy, France
1986 Chateau La Lagune, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France
1964 Chateau Brane-Cantenac, Margaux, 2er Cru, Bordeaux France
2001 Chateau Giscours, Margaux, Bordeaux, France
2005 Chateau La Lagune, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France
2003 Mount Mary Vineyard, Quintet, Yarra Valley
2004 Mount Mary Vineyard, Quintet, Yarra Valley
2005 Mount Mary Vineyard, Quintet, Yarra Valley
2006 Mount Mary Vineyard, Quintet, Yarra Valley
2008 Mount Mary Vineyard, Quintet, Yarra Valley
1983 Alfred Goeres, Briedeler Herzchen, Beerenauslese, MSR, Germany

The 92 Tollinche was a bit muted on the nose initially, tropical fruits, with good acidity, the fruit was struggling to keep up with it, still had a good mouth feel. Put me in the mind of a Corton with its more minerally, austere style. After a bit of time in the glass it started to open up with more lemon and grapefruit flavours.

The 79 Pistorius Gev-Cham started out oxidative, with some smokiness and portiness, good tannins still, dark fruits/blackberry/plums, there was some coffee beans and smoked meats, I found it faded fairly quickly.

The 86 La Lagune had a bit of funk on the nose which blew off, still showing a bit of green/stalkiness, blackberry, dark cherry, pencil/graphite, some capsiscum. The tannins were massive, it needed another 5-6 hours in the decanter or 10-15 years in the bottle. The tannins threw it out of balance, shame I couldn’t sit on this for a day or so.

2001 Giscours, blackberry, kirsch, dark cherry with a bit of alcohol on the nose. Very persistent on the palate, will do another 10-20 years no problems and will balance out.

The 2005 La Lagune I was half expecting it to be a mouthful of oak but was pleasantly surprised how approachable it was even at this young age. Although quite tannic they were a lot finer and less grippy. Had blackberry, blackcurrant, spices, black pepper with a dash of soy.

The Mount Mary’s stylistically are evolving to my palate. It’s not something you’d notice without having them all in front of you. My memories of the Quintets in the 90’s were of more elegant, spicy and herbaceous wines that didn’t hit you in the face – more Margaux than Mouton. 2003 was a nod to the style but by 2008 there is a real shift of fruit power coming to the fore. I’m not saying it’s better or worse just different.

2003 Mt Mary had a bit of green stalkiness, which led me to think there was more Cabernet dominance in the wine, might have been a good year for Cabernet so they went with more in the blend. Lots of white pepper, spicy oak influence, plums, the tannins were quite fine and balanced well with nice length although it tended to finish a bit hot. Probably needs another 5 years.

2004 Mt Mary, nice aromas of cherry, dark plums, spices, had a good integration of fruit, seems to have less Cabernet influence, very soft on the palate almost velvet like, really well integrated considering it’s so young. No problems hanging onto this for another 5 years and/or drinking now. Probably my favourite of the 5.

2005 Mt Mary, quite closed, soft on the palate, somewhat muted fruit which took a while to open up, white pepper, cherry moving to a nice sour cheery/sappiness as it spent time in the glass. Needs a heap more time and seems to be in a hole at the moment.

2006 Mt Mary, sour cherry, oak spices, very rich and confected nose, soft tannins and unctuousness on the palate, very powerful wine. Almost single varietal in it’s make up, hard to see the various components. Bit more structure than the 08. Served blind I would have been guessing Margaret River Cab Sav.

2008 Mt Mary, more confected notes, blackberry, very fruit forward with a real depth of power, so much so that they dominant the tannins, really big style that coats the glass and leaves long legs. At this age it is quite monolithic. Be interested in seeing this in another 10 years and putting it up against something like the Houghton Jack Mann.

The 83 BA was drinking very well,  it had Marmalade, Honeysuckle, Violet Crumble/ honeycomb with a nice acid on the backbone. Great way to finish the night.

Huge thanks to Shannon and Greg the tireless glass man getting it all happening smoothly with 70+ glasses needing to be filled up, washed etc. Also to Mark for making the trip over and making the wines available. Looking forward to the next one.