Travis Schultz.
Travis Schultz.

A chardonnay worth the trumpets and bugles

“It’s the best chardonnay on the Mornington Peninsula” he decreed as he pressed his thumb into the punt at its base and forcefully thrust a bottle in my direction.

“You won’t find better” my mate promised, as if the acceptance of his gift was accompanied by the clatter of a gauntlet hitting the tiled floor.

Instinctively, I took charge of the green tinted bottle and rotated it clockwise in search of the label – Scorpo Vineyard and Wines Eocene 2013 Single Vineyard Chardonnay, it read.

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Not one that I was familiar with, but could it live up to the trumpets and bugles?

Now before you accuse me of being either uncharitable or unkind, my palpable cynicism at my friend’s big wrap for the Scorpo chardy wasn’t misplaced.

After all, he’s the same bloke who has well established form for bringing “well-aged” white wines to dinner parties and crying about his “bad luck” when the contents of his bottle would be best sold as balsamic and used as a salad dressing!

Scorpo Vineyard and Wines Eocene 2013 Single Vineyard Chardonnay. Picture: Scorpo Wines
Scorpo Vineyard and Wines Eocene 2013 Single Vineyard Chardonnay. Picture: Scorpo Wines

But I guess it’s unavoidable that when you “cellar” your wines on a kitchen shelf above the stove top, it’s only a matter of time before you earn the nickname “Vinegar Callow”.

So, approaching Michael’s recommendation with a degree of hesitation was not just instinctive, but well founded.

You’ll find the Scorpo vineyard at Merricks North on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, nestled on the site of an old cherry and apple orchard.

With 17 acres now under vine, the dream of founders Paul and Caroline Scorpo is well and truly alive as they have an ideal northeast facing vineyard which is producing high quality pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris/grigio and even a sauvignon blanc and shiraz.

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They’ve achieved a lot in a relatively short period of time given that they only started establishing the vineyards in 1997.

But is their chardonnay really the best on the Peninsula, as Michael would have me believe?

Time to crack the stelvin and pour a glass, I guess.

For a seven-year-old wine there’s still only a pale straw colour in the glass with a hint of honey on the edges.

Scorpo Vineyards Picture: Scorpo Wines
Scorpo Vineyards Picture: Scorpo Wines

On the nose, there’s a subtle hint of the peaches and ample nectarines that appear upfront with the first sip.

Through the middle the stone fruit characters give way to a lemon butter and hazelnut encore before citrus and spice, and join a generous minerality on the conclusion.

I love the mouth filling weight and palate pleasing texture, so I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise to learn that Halliday gave the 2013 edition of the Eocene 96 points!

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The Mornington Peninsula is undoubtedly one of Australia’s premier chardonnay producing regions with names like Polperro, Port Phillip Estate, Ten Minutes by Tractor and Paringa Estate, and I guess Scorpo is now a worthy addition to the leadership team.

It pains me to admit to Vinegar Callow that he might be right about the Scorpo Eocene 2013 Chardonnay; if it’s not the best Mornington Peninsula chardonnay I’ve sampled this year, as its $55 price tag would imply, it’s right up there with the best of them!



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