These are not joint winners; they are Siamese twins, with the same region (the Mornington Peninsula), the same owners (Giorgio and Dianne Gjergja) and the same wine maker (Sandro Mosele). They have separate vineyards, their principal varieties of chardonnay and pinot noir the same (although Port Phillip Estate strikes out on its own with small plantings of arneis, sauvignon blanc and shiraz). The Siamese twin connection returns with the winemaking: the fermentation and maceration of all the wines is carried out at Kooyong, the bottling (and bottle storage) at Port Phillip Estate.
It is at this point that the chord is snapped. After three years of construction and spending of an untold number of millions of dollars, the Port Phillip Estate restaurant, luxury accommodation, cellar door, and ultimate bottling line and storage facility was opened in November 2009.
Because it has been built into a slope falling away from the road and entrance, it is simply not possible to gauge the size of the complex without walking through its three floors. It has glorious views from the restaurant and cellar door, but viewed from the road, nestles into the landscape.
Kooyong has by far the larger vineyard of 36.4 hectares compared to Port Phillip’s 9.3 hectares, and produces a majestic array of what are called single vineyard wins, but are in truth single block selections from within the Kooyong vineyard. Port Phillip Estate effortlessly achieves top five-star rating with its wines, but the best – some of the very best from the entire Mornington Peninsula – come from Kooyong. Most are higher-priced than those of Port Phillip Estate, and may at first blush seem expensive. Compared to upper end Barossa Valley shirazs, they are most certainly not, and are but a fraction of the price of Burgundies of similar quality.
As the vines mature further, and Sandro Mosele continues his painstaking study of the impact of the subtly varying terroir of the Kooyong vineyard (not forgetting Port Phillip Estate) even better things lie in store. Previous Wineries of the Year include Paringa Estate, Balnaves of Coonawarra, Brookland Valley, Tyrrell’s and Larry Cherubino Wines.