Exploring Australia's premier Pinot Noir region, part 5

Port Phillip Estate, where Kooyong's tasting room and winery is based

Kooyong has established a strong reputation as one of the Mornington Peninsula's top producers. Vines were first planted here in 1996, and the first vintage was 1999. 'We're pushing on 20 years old with some of the vines,' says winemaker Glen Hayley, who last year took over from long-time chief Sandro Mosele, who has gone to 10 Minutes x Tractor.

Kooyong was begun by the Aylward family, who sold it to current owners the Gjergjas in 2004. [The Aylwards now run small boutique operation Ocean Eight.] The cellar door and winery is now at the very grand and imposing Port Phillip Estate, but most of the vineyards are on the northern side of the peninsular, in Tuerong. I visited both. The soils here are more of a sandy/clay loam, as opposed to the red volcanic soils higher up. These soils are shallow and dry out quicker, resulting in more robust Pinots and whites with really intense flavour, as well as good acidity.

 Glen Hayley

Glen Hayley worked for six years under Sandro, so don't expect these wines, which are widely acclaimed, to change much in style in the near future. I was really impressed. The focus is solely on Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which is what Mornington does best.


Kooyong Buerrot Pinot Gris 2016 Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Taut and a bit pithy with nice bright grapey citrus fruits. Has lovely precision with a bit of stoniness on the finish. Juicy lemons on the finish. Nice stuff. 89/100

Kooyong Clonale Chardonnay 2016 Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Bright, lemony and focused with a lovely stony texture. Bright with lovely acidity and focus here. So juicy and taut showing some lively white plum and pear notes. 91/100

Kooyong Faultline Chardonnay Single Vineyard Selection 2015 Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Powerful, mineral and spicy with incredible precision, and an intense acid line. Lemony, smoky, with some matchstick minerality. Such acidity, too. This has amazing depth and focus, and will last a long time. 96/100

Kooyong Farrago Chardonnay Single Vineyard Selection 2015 Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Has lots of hen and chicken in this block. It's Mendoza clone. Beautiful aromatics here: refined matchstick mineral nose with pear and lemon peel. The palate has tangerine and lemon characters. Such purity and precision with lovely acidity, well integrated into the citrus core of the wine. 96/100

Kooyong Massale Pinot Noir 2015 Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Floral, perfumed, sweet red cherry and plum fruit. Has a real beauty to it. Fragrant with fine herbs and some spice. Chewy and bright on the palate with lush black cherry fruit and some fine dried herb notes. There's a silkiness here, but also some structure. 92/100

Kooyong Estate Pinot Noir 2014 Mornington Peninsula, Australia
A problematic, variable vintage with uneven ripeness. Spicy, smoky and savoury on the nose. Grippy, savoury and structured on the palate with some damson, herbs and bitter plums, as well as some sweet cherries. Intriguing stuff with a very savoury personality. 92/100

Kooyong Meres Single Vineyard Selection Pinot Noir 2014 Mornington Peninsula, Australia
This has a delicate meaty, slightly herbal edge to the floral berry fruits nose. Smoke, spice and iodine hints. There's a bit of savoury, spicy grip on the palate, and it is quite structured, with firm tannins under the subdued cherry and berry fruits. Nice grip. 93/100

Kooyong Meres Single Vineyard Selection Pinot Noir 2015 Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Supple green edge with bright red cherries and plums. An elegant style with a hint of vanilla sweetness. Slightly candied fruit. 92/100

Kooyong Haven Single Vineyard Selection Pinot Noir 2014 Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Fresh, vivid cherry and plum fruit nose. Has some spicy detail as well as bright berry fruits on the palate. Lush core of fruit here, framed by a hint of mint. There's lovely balance between the sweet and savoury characters here. 93/100

Kooyong Ferrous Single Vineyard Selection Pinot Noir 2014 Mornington Peninsula, Australia
This has such a distinctive personality. It's tannic and structured with amazing savoury detail: blood, iron, spice, a bit of pepper and fresh, focused red cherry and plum fruit. Real finesse here with a brilliant combination of sweet and savoury. 95/100


1 Introduction
2 Paringa Estate
3 Montalto
4 Ocean Eight
5 Kooyong
6 Ten Minutes By Tractor
7 Stonier
8 Willow Creek
9 Crittenden Estate
10 Yabby Lake
11 Quealy
12 Mooroduc
13 Eldridge Estate of Red Hill 

See also:

The wines of Jamsheed

Wines tasted 02/17  and 05/16 as indicated
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