REVIEW: Wines with x-factor under $40

SOMETIMES a winery cruises along and then a fair wind hits their sails and they sail a wondrous ship into sight.

Montalto Estate (and Olive Grove and Sculpture Garden and Restaurant and Wine School and Wedding Venue) on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula is one such vessel.

Winemaker Simon Black and the team have roused a bit of interest and the current releases are receiving good noises from the wine community. Their pinot noirs and shiraz are elegant, well-crafted wines. The whites have an X-factor... an extra "something".


Montalto Estate, Pinot Gris

2015: Barrel work (through the fermentation and maturation) is evident as it lovingly smooths out this fruit driven, yet layered wine. Think pears, poached in their own juices: both by flavour and texture. Complex and elemental, creamy oak nut butter makes this stately, not weighty. Finishes with a delicious savoury quality. Very, very good. Sets a new level for pinot gris.

Rating: 9/10

RRP: $36

Alc: 13.4%


Montalto, Pennon Hill, Chardonnay

2015: Pennon Hill is the "second label" for Montalto but oh, so much more. Bunches of fruit smells (think little peaches, figs and grapefruit) balanced with small amounts of complex savoury sulphides: meringue/egg shell and lingering extinguished match heads. Perky palate: bright fruit, citrus (lemon, dash of lime) all sitting neat as a pin with just the right amount of macadamia nuttiness and a finish of tart grapefruit. Makes you go "oooooh...." and nod quite a bit.

Rating: 9/10

RRP: $28

Alc: 13.3%


Montalto, Estate, Chardonnay

2015: Creamy, yet light peach with caramel nut. Pretty and sweet nose without resorting to tropical fruit. Some palate weight and phenolic grip that grabs you on the inside of the cheeks and the front inside of the lip. Peach slice fruit and some baked lemon freshness. This is about the texture and bloody good texture at that.

Rating: 8.5/10

RRP: $14

Alc: 13.3%

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