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February 2020 – Notes from a Small Vineyard

The 2018 Chardonnay is a story of perseverance and patience.

Ideal weather conditions during flowering presented us with a bountiful crop of Chardonnay, that ripened at an even pace across our three patches of vines. As a result, our window for harvesting was dramatically narrowed, requiring all fruit to be picked and processed over three long consecutive days.

The quality of the grapes presented to us in the winery for pressing put us in high spirits, carrying us forward as our energy levels reduced.

With the juice in barrel, slow wild yeast primary fermentation took over 3 months to complete, taking unusually longer than the full malolactic conversion. The resulting wine has richness and subtle complexity, and most importantly celebrates the fruit quality of the 2018 vintage.

As a bonus to the year, a barrel each of Pinot Meunier and Merlot were made and both are true expressions of their varieties.

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Main Ridge Estate is the story of a successful, family-run boutique wine business.

Nat White is a pioneering Mornington Peninsula wine maker who 44 years ago gave up the security of a public service engineering job for a tiny Red Hill lemon orchard with no road access. Nat and Rose had the dream of creating a Burgundian style vineyard and winery in a location where the climate and suitability of wine varieties was uncertain. With limited capital and with huge toil and determination they gradually established Main Ridge Estate vineyard.

Nat’s renown as a winemaker grew steadily to the highest levels due to his ability to consistently extract greatness from the plot, based on his philosophies of using only estate grown fruit at low yields, and creating fault free, complex wines.

Nat is a legend of the Peninsula winemaking industry for the practical support and guidance he has given to innumerable successful winemakers, and for the collaborative wine community culture he and Rose fostered. In 2017 Nat was awarded an Order of Australia Medal awarded in 2017 for his services to the wine industry.

Nat continues as a mentor to James, and the Sexton and White families enjoy a warm relationship

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Main Ridge Estate is an ideal site for producing high quality cool climate wine. Located in a small valley at 230 metres altitude on Arthur’s Seat, our small 7 acre vineyard was planted progressively from 1975. It is one of the oldest and highest vineyards on the Mornington Peninsula. The north-east facing vineyards slope gently, sheltered by stands of mature trees.

The 5,000 vines are approximately 50% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and there are a small number of Pinot Meunier and Merlot vines. The rich volcanic soil and mature deep-rooted vines ensure no irrigation is required. Main Ridge Estate wines have always been made exclusively from estate grown fruit.

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Inside information

In the tradition established by Nat and Rose White, we continue to operate Main Ridge Estate as a small ‘hands -on’ family wine business.

  • James makes and sells our wine, and studies his Wine Science degree in his spare time!
  • Linda maintains the vineyard and assists James with winemaking.
  • Libby is chief accountant, gardener and housekeeper.
  • Tim is marketing manager, does spreadsheets, cooks, and fights with the pumps!
  • We all work in the cellar door at weekends, ably supported by Jude our kitchenhand.
  • Throughout the year we are backed up by a great team of contractors who help us maintain the property and pick grapes during vintage.

Our successful transition to life at Main Ridge Estate  has been greatly supported by Nat and Rose, local winemakers and the wonderful Red Hill community.

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Main Ridge Estate . In a tasting of  33 wines 

2013 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling GG
Pale lemon yellow. Tight, apples, citrus, minerals, ever so slightly scented nose. Fresh acidity, mouthwatering, fresh and lively, detailed, crisp, lovely playfulness, slight apple bitterness in finish, long. 92

22d 17h ago

 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  3 wines  from  Main Ridge Estate . In a tasting of  8 wines 

Smith & Sheth ‘Cru’ Omahu Cantera 2017 – A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Tempranillo. Only 146 six-packs of this wine were made. The grapes came from vineyards with stony riverbed soils in the Gimblett Gravels subregion of Hawkes Bay. They were destemmed and co-fermented in open top vessels and punched down twice daily during fermentation. The wine spent 19 months in barrel, most of which were new American oak, which is comparatively rare for this style in this region. The stunning aromas leapt from the bottle as soon as it was opened. Filled the room. Fabulous stuff. Just gorgeous. Inky black notes, cloves, spices, vanillin notes, florals, with soft, cuddly, supple tannins to finish. Great length and fine concentration with underlying power. A fine, layered style. Has many years ahead of it, though delicious today. 95.

7m 21d ago

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