Mount Mary Quintet 2008: comparing vintages 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Medium rubied with tight rim, Mount Mary Quintet 2008 noses bouquet of dried herbs , sweet blackcurrant and old leather. Elegant and restrained, this wine seems particularly savoury. There is linear acidity to it, with blackberry, olive and pepper on the front to mid palate that takes on more earthy, leather and cedary characters.The finish shows good structure of tannin, fruit and oak. Compared to vintage 2008, the 2006 is bigger; the 2005 is and controversial and apparently softer; the 2004 is even finer and classic with Mount Mary elegance with refinement, and a very spicy black pepper as the backbone for the flavour profile. All vintages are different. Quite ‘Left Bank’ palated, all the Mount Mary Quintets described here need some decanting to build and gain further complexities. The fermentation regime is similar to that of the Pinot, although slightly longer fermentations are employed (up to 12 days). This is followed by 22 months of barrel maturation, with 25% of the blend in large format oak (1500L or larger), and 30% in new barriques (225L). Probably the right time to drink.
David Middleton describes the wine in the following way: “This year’s blend is more Cabernet Sauvignon dominant than usual, though it is not obvious to taste. The beauty of the blend is in the complexity derived from the varietal mix. This inherent complexity avoids the need to play any tricks in the winery to add other flavours. None of us have seen a Quintet as densely coloured as this particular example”
Notable scores are:
Ranked 1 of 15 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon tasted from Port Phillip
A typical Mount Mary elegant, well-balanced wine with ripe flavours, but also complex and unmistakeably cabernet-based, the tannins fine and soft and the palate seamless and long.
The late John Middleton’s cult estate is now in the hands of sons Nick and Sam Middleton with Rob Hall making the wines for the last eight years. According to Nick and Sam, John was pretty hands-on and fastidious right up until his death in 2006. He realized the potential dangers of Brettanomyces relatively early-on - some of his wines from the 1990s display varying states of infection - and from 2002 the reds have all been filtered to offer some protection. To see a winery of such enormous potential handling Brett in this manner is a very big disappointment to me. Most wineries of this status have found other more successful and less damaging means of handling this menace. The current releases are unquestionably good, but I can’t help imagine how very great they could be.