Australia, Wine Reviews

Grey Free State: Mornington Peninsula Pinot Gris


“….(it was) a spectral grey, as if all the colour has been sucked out by the sun.” – Bruce Chatwin in “Anatomy of Restlessness


There is a concept in philosophy called the grey area which is a concept for which one is unsure which category in which to place it. As it so happens, the development of the Pinot Gris variety in Australia has coincided with my career in wine and I’ve watched it change from being a marginal variety, unsure about what it even should be called in Australia (whether Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio), to now: where the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show stopped accepting Pinot Grigio wine entries as it no longer considered it an alternative variety.

Firstly, I have to admit I have never been a fan of the grape, as my post The Problem with Pinot Grigio UK attests. That said, I don’t like to be too black and white in my ideas about anything, especially when I hear Pinot Gris is doing so well in the exciting cool-climate region of Mornington Peninsula. Instead, I tasted three wines while here in Sydney to find out, all about £15- 20 in bottle price. Here are my three-word reviews:

2010 Ocean Eight Pinot Gris – ocean before storm

2009 Aerin’s Vineyard Pinot Gris – peach pear crunch

2009 Kooyong Estate Beurrot Pinot Gris – mineral weight balance (or, brilliant Sandro Mosele)


Other than to say Mornington Peninsula is producing some serious quality, each wine was so different in style it was difficult to make a definitive statement about the region from these three very different wines.

However, despite the different styles, what was common to all wines was their excellent texture. If each had their own fashion, what was similar to all three wines was the quality of the tailoring rather than the style of the suit.

True to its name, the expression of Gris in Mornington Peninsula is in an achromatic state but there are also many shades of grey. It’s exciting to see so much experimentation in the region, with the style and what the terroir can do here, but if one thing must be said for certain: Pinot Gris is finding its home in Mornington Peninsula and it is of serious quality.


Related Post: 5 regions in Australia you should know (if you pretend to know anything about wine)

Image: Bruce Chatwin

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