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Mount Mary Vineyard is a family owned, single vineyard estate located in the heart of the Yarra Valley which lies in the south-eastern corner of Australia. Established in 1971 by Dr. John and Marli Middleton, Mount Mary was one of the first vineyards planted in the resurgence of the Yarra Valley as a premium grape growing region. The inspiration for planting vines in this area came from the local history of the Yarra Valley and in particular from the wines being made by the Swiss settlers in the 1850’s. These Swiss immigrants had been greatly influenced by the French wine producers and they recognised the climatic parallels the Yarra Valley shared with both Bordeaux and Burgundy.
After extensive visits to the wine growing areas of the world in the late 1960’s and in particular those of Bordeaux and Burgundy, John and Marli had become totally fascinated by French premium wine. They then decided to start looking for a suitable place to establish a commercial vineyard planted entirely with French grape varieties. And so it was in 1971 that John and Marli stumbled upon the property known as "Mount Mary". The site had, surprisingly, never been planted with vines yet they immediately recognised the gentle north facing slope and soil as being ideal for their purpose. The first vines were planted in 1972 and today we have some 30 acres under vine, all of varying age and varieties.
As the most important area of wine production in Victoria today, the Yarra Valley is most popular for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which account for over half of vineyard acreage. A gentle, rolling and rural region alongside the Margaret River, the Yarra Valley has a cool maritime climate with a lengthy growing season, perfect for these cool-climate varieties.
Two styles of Pinot Noir are possible here. The warmer Lower Yarra Valley with sandy, loam soils, produces plush and fruity Pinot Noir while the cooler, higher-elevation Upper Yarra Valley with soils of young red basalt, produces more angular and mineral-driven Pinot Noir.
Yarra Valley Chardonnay is among the best in Australia. To preserve the floral aromatics and fresh citrus flavors for which this area’s Chardonnay is so appreciated, time in barrel is restrained (though barrel fermentation is common). The best Yarra Valley Chardonnays display brilliant acidity, leesy characteristics, citrus, stone fruit and flavors of ginger and spice.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”