I had the opportunity yesterday to drink 3 glasses of Fleurieu Peninsula pinot noir from the Minko winery, covering vintages 2005, 2006 and 2008 (current release). Minko was a name previously unknown to me, but my encounters with Tapanappa's unique Fleurieu pinot noir instigated enough enthusiasm in my mind to go and check the Minko wines out.
Outside of Tapanappa's wine I actually have very little experience with this relatively new region's pinot noir. Admittedly, Minko's vineyard is some distance from Croser's. Brian Croser's Foggy Hill vineyard lies around Parawa, at the southern end of the Fleurieu, between Victor Harbour and Cape Jervis, while Minko's vineyard is roughly a 20 min drive north-east of that spot at Mount Compass. Mount Compass sits at the southern end of Willunga, which itself sits at the southern end of McLaren Vale, so in thinking, Minko's cool Mount Compass vineyard is as close (if not closer) to McLaren Vale as it is to Tapanappa's Foggy Hill vineyard. Of course, both Tapanappa's and Minko's Pinot Noirs carry the same Fleurieu Peninsula regional tag on the label.
Minko's Pinot Noir retails for $25, roughly half that of Tapanappa's, while its Mount Compass vineyard was planted in 1997. Considering its price I was actually quite impressed by the Minko pinot style, which is noticeably less oaky than Tapanappa's. The better wines showed a good earthiness and richness of flavour (potential regional qualities?), while the 2005 displayed the brand's potential for development. Personally I think for $25 they're about as good as any pinot South Australia dishes up in that price range.
Basically, if Tapanappa's wine pushes the upper echelon of Fleurieu pinot noir in the future, I believe Minko is capable of giving us something tasty to drink at the lower end of the price scale. I will continue to watch Fleurieu pinot noir with growing interest....
Minko Pinot Noir tasting notes are posted below
Minko Pinot Noir 2008 ($25) Shows a strong yet pleasant aroma of beetroot, overlying savoury cherry fruits, earth and clean, restrained oak. Its palate is light-medium bodied yet pleasingly rich and supple, with a lightly spiced, savoury cherry fruit core bound by an understated, dry coverage of lithe tannins and acid. Considerate, intelligent oak usage is a plus at this price point. It's actually quite composed and elegant, with all the elements in place to age until the next World Cup. (full review soon) 91
Minko Pinot Noir 2006 ($25) Bizarre nose. Yes, there's some rhubarb and game, but I also get grapefruit and something that resembles wheat or grain. Quite unusual. Its palate lacks pinot's typical suppleness and fluffiness, as its mouthfeel reflects something more like a lighter dry red. Its ripe fruit resides somewhere in the currant/game spectrum, and although its quite sumptuous through the mid-palate, I'm not entirely convinced of its varietal quality. It is quite drinkable though. 87
Minko Pinot Noir 2005 ($25) Instantly brings me back to varietal correctness, with a more herbal, savoury overlay to cherry, earth and cinnamon aromas. Its good, soft palate is brought to life by a true thrust of lively acids and tannins (a surprise for its age), which leave a good impression through outline. Although soft it's quite luscious, and the fullest and most filled out of the 3 wines. A lingering earthy tone punctuates its finish. Top value and a fine indication of the wine's ability to age, as it could easily sit down for another 2, or maybe even 3 years. Picked up a bottle and I might review it, maybe...92