David Pike discovers a little bit of Western Australian influence at Moorooduc Estate on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsular, proving there’s more to a top winery than just good grapes.

THE Mornington Peninsular is a spectacular region just two hours’ drive from Melbourne and is home to some of the State’s great wineries.

One of these is Moorooduc Estate and, while in Victoria a few weeks back, I was pleased to accept an invitation to visit Moorooduc, owned by Dr Richard McIntyre and his wife, Jill.

Moorooduc has a tremendously warm and homely feel to it. The quality of the wine is just one element of Moorooduc that will impress if you should visit. Four charming rooms (without television but with ensuite) are available to those looking to stay after a day spent exploring the region and, to cap off the visit, Moorooduc also has a restaurant, called Jill’s.

Richard and Jill McIntyre purchased the estate in 1982 after a detailed search of the region for the ideal production site, given the particular climatic conditions of the peninsular.

The vineyard is planted on soils rich with mineral and fossils. It is one of the highest points in the area – on a fine day you can see right over Port Phillip Bay. It is quite a spectacular location, in addition to its suitability to growing grapes.

The vineyard was planted in several stages. The first of the vines went in during 1983 and subsequent plantings were in 1987 and, more recently, in 1994. Currently there are 16 acres under vine on the property.

Pinot noir, chardonnay cabernet and shiraz are the varieties currently producing offerings for Moorooduc to artfully craft into wine.

The winery and main building were built by the Margaret River Rammed Earth Company. It is a building that, while striking, has a certain warmth to it, a homely, comfortable feeling, if you will.

Jill’s restaurant is open for lunch on Saturday and Sunday and dinner on Friday and Saturday. Jill McIntyre has gained a solid reputation for producing what I call ‘peasant food’, inspired by the provincial foods of southern France and Italy.

The food on the day we visited was a gastronomic joy that all in our party seemed to enjoy.

Wine lovers will focus on pinot noir and chardonnay as the varieties most closely associated with the Mornington Peninsular region.

Not surprisingly, these are the varieties upon which Richard McIntyre has focused most of his attention.

I wonder if it was the lure of the ‘pinot grail’ that enflamed Dr McIntyre’s desire to continue experimenting with pinot noir, which is the most difficult grape to grow.

We were invited to taste through several barrel samples of the 2001 pinot noir (an outstanding vintage), which highlighted the differences in not only the various techniques Richard used, but also the subtle differences in several of the clones of pinot noir grown at Moorooduc.

It was one of the more enlightening looks at this variety I have been involved with, especially as some of the clone differences were quite pronounced.

Pinot Noir MV-6 Clone 2001

Displayed bright, rich, ripe plum and cherry fruits and aromatics.

A little one-dimensional, with acidity not playing a big part. Quite delicious.

Pinot Noir 115 Clone 2001

A vibrant wine with some floral aromatics and savory hints. Sweet savory flavours with a more pronounced acidity, more structure and complexity.

Pinot Noir 114 Clone 2001

Similar aromatics to the 115. Pronounced acidity with savory dusty tannin and some spice. Seemed to display building tannins; structurally different.

Moorooduc Wild Yeast Chardonnay 2001 rrp $32 18.25/20

An aromatic delight. Lemon lift with a touch of nuttiness and a distinctive minerality running through the aromas. The palate is quite viscous, with grapefruit, white peach and some mocha characters. There are some lees flavours on the back palate, and a long and prosperous finish. A delight.

Moorooduc Wild Yeast Reserve Chardonnay 2001 rrp $45 18.75/20

A wonderfully complex wine that is tight and currently showing restraint.

Displays mineral undertones, with pieces of white peach and grapefruit citrus and nuances of scrumptious oak.

The palate shows layered waves of complex charters that are artfully blended through this wine. Mineral and nougat strike you across the viscous palate that has morrish length and a fabulous finish.

Moorooduc Wild Yeast Pinot Noir 2000 rrp $40 18.50/20

Vibrant aromatic aromas, integrated charry oak with gamey hints and ripe cherries with a slight medicinal touch.

The palate is alive with sweet savory characters, while the integration of the acidity, oak and tannins is almost seamless. This wine has wonderful spice, cherry, plumy flavours, great balance and is at last a pinot noir with some backbone. Find some of this and then seek out the 2001, coming soon.

Moorooduc Shiraz rrp $32 17.75/20

I really like this style of shiraz; it is heading along the Rhone vein. Vibrant, almost perfumed, characters on the nose, combine with complex elements of ripe black cherries, damsons and mulberries. The structured palate shows some spice with balanced acidity and soft approachable tannins. The ripe savory fruit will leave you searching for another glass or two.

For details regarding accommodation and wines availability, contact Moorooduc (03) 5971 8506 or

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