Some of you may have noticed a new arrival into Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist portfolio just prior to Christmas, Stonier Wines. Stonier are the leading producer of premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Mornington Peninsula. It marks a real milestone in our national representation of a Mornington Peninsula winery and cements our vision of bringing the best of region to our customers.
Stonier Managing Director, Aaron Drummond, who recently returned to the Mornington Peninsula after 8 years as General Manager of New Zealand’s Craggy Range winery, remarked “when my partners and I heard that Stonier was for sale we were super keen… given the quality of the wine, the exceptional vineyards and our shared aspirations of taking the best of Mornington Peninsula wine to the rest of the world.
“I grew up on the Mornington Peninsula with Brian Stonier’s grandchildren, so had a lot of exposure to the wines. They were iconic, and this is where we want to get back to…less volume with a focus on rebuilding on premise here and overseas, great farming, and a goal of making some of the region’s best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
“We needed a great distribution partner and after working with Mezzanine for the previous 8 years with Craggy Range, this was the obvious choice for Stonier. Mezzanine have a great team, a great portfolio, but more importantly they care and have integrity as a family owned company.”
- Aaron Drummond | Managing Director
Aaron similarly praised the team at Stonier, saying they would complement its great vineyards and growers. “Justin Purser joined Stonier as Chief Winemaker in 2022 after a decade at Best’s Great Western. While Justin has made some amazing wines (including last year’s Jimmy Watson winner) he has a real passion for Pinot Noir after spending four years at Domaine De Montille in Volnay.
“On the vineyard side, viticulturalist Tim Brown, will also be helping to drive the evolution in the Stonier vineyards, especially with a view to moving to organics. Tim’s experience with Pinot at places like Bindi and Place of Changing Winds will be a great resource for the team”.
As one of the oldest vineyards on the Peninsula, planted in 1978, Brian Stonier significantly transformed the world’s perspective of this region to produce globally heralded cool climate varietals with their 1999 Reserve Chardonnay winning Best Chardonnay AND Best White wine at London’s International Wine Challenge.
The aspect couldn’t be more beautiful, as the Mezzanine sales team discovered in a February visit. Vineyards overlooking the waters off Point Leo, a cooling salty breeze rustles through the canopies. We’re told 2023 will be a late harvest, but shaping up as another great as flavour builds on the vine. Varied row orientations and trellising makes for choice and control around how different pockets are treated in the vineyard, but also upon fruit hitting the winery.
What is below the surface, is all the more exciting. Stonier’s estate vineyards stand on the coveted red volcanic soil, elevated between 200 and 250 meters above sea level. These soils are porous and freely draining, resulting in deeper root establishment. This also leads to unprecedented concentration in the grapes and wines with greater aromatic attributes, fruit purity and exciting mineral tension.
The reprieve of the air conditioning was welcomed by the Mezzanine team, as we enjoyed a beautiful antipasto spread and tasting of the current releases in the Cellar Door, a space beautifully adorned with local artist’s bush landscapes.
The 2016 Sparkling was a bright, moreish aperitif sparkling, driven by lemon fruit and with a creamy bead and mouthfeel. It was surprisingly refreshing and primary, leaving many of us wishing we weren’t driving!
Then onto the 2021 Stonier, KBS and Reserve Chardonnays– what a vintage! The mild conditions have ladened these wines with ripe fruit, palate weight and intensity, seamless acidity, savoury layering from oak and lees, and persistent length. Stylish, delicious and will see enhanced honey and nut characters over the medium term.
The 2021 Stonier and Reserve Pinots were next up. Here we received lashings of bright, fleshy red fruits and in the case of the Reserve, underpinning darker broody fruit also. These were velvety medium to fuller-bodied wines, with raw silk-like tannins and a long savoury finish. Looking beautiful now, but excellent tension between acid, tannins and fruit point to strong aging potential. Case in point was our final treat, a look at the 2019 Windmill Pinot. From a steep, North-facing slope, and combining both whole bunches and destemmed parcels, this was very seductive drinking! Silky, long and sophisticated.
Our team would love to show you the wines of current vintage – 2016 Sparkling, 2021 Estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and 2021 Reserves – so please reach out to your Area Manager if you are interested.