Moko Hills – The Next Cult Wine
I often get asked, "What's good you've tasted lately?" Moko Hills come to my mind for the right reasons. Something special about these wines, they show some of the prettiest expressions of Bendigo and are captivating.
Production size is under 140 cases for each wine, a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a sub-brand Kakano Pinot Noir made from their 40-hectares family-owned estate in Bendigo; they also supply grapes as growers. The vineyard blocks elevation ranging from 310-370 metres above sea level, home to much unique fauna and flora, such as kōwhai thriving on quartz and schist, featured on the Chardonnay label and along with Kawarau Gecko, an endemic species found bathe upon the sun-baked rock and blending into the mossy cover featured on the Pinot Noir label.
Winemaker Donald van der Westhuizen aspires to make wines reflective of their origin. All wines are made with minimal intervention - hand-picked grapes, minimal extraction, wild yeast fermentation and 100% oak ageing with new and natural oak. Both wines are delicate, with lifted aromas reflective of a higher elevation site. The Pinot Noirs possesses quintessential Bendigo's dark-fruited character, a high percentage of whole bunches incorporated in fermentation contributed to fragranced floral layers, and gentle handling of tannin extraction resulted in ethereal silky textural, leaving a powerful, memorable impression.The 2020 wines are sold out on their website since their e-commerce went live in August, and 2021 is available. You may find them in selected fine wine retailers, and I suggest you find these gems quickly; you might be missing out on the next cult wine.
Read my reviews in the expansions below.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Moko Hills Chardonnay 2020, Central OtagoChardonnay from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 16-Sep-2022Bright, slightly hazy (unfiltered), pale yellow with some depth, even colour throughout. The nose is bright and welcoming, with pure aromas of ripe stonefruit, citrus melded with toasted sesame, greek yoghurt, pastry and a hint of white floral. Medium-bodied, aromas of apricot and nectarine entwined with lemon sherbet, grapefruit and nectarine blossom, unveiling delicate spice, almond and a creamy underlay. The fruit is pure and raw, supported by a taut acid line. Creamy details linger and grow to a lightly nutty finish. This Chardonnay possesses natural and raw beauty showing a citrus, stonefruit core and acid tension with a balanced, creamy influence. Fruit from Bendigo subregion, clones UCD15 and B95, whole bunch pressed, full solids to 100% French oak, natural yeast fermentation, partial lees stirring. Aged 12 months in barrels, natural MLF, 13.6% alc, unfiltered. 19/20 pts (95 pts) Sep 2022 RRP $65
Moko Hills Pinot Noir 2020, Central Otago Pinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 16-Sep-2022Moderately deep ruby-red, even colour throughout. This has a lifted, fragrant bouquet, elegantly presented with aromas of lavender, bergamot, cinnamon bark, orange zest, underlined blackberry and cherry. Medium-bodied, aromas of blackberry and cherry intertwined with black pepper, cinnamon, orange zest, and well-portioned nuances of lavender and bergamot linger to a lengthy, fragranced, savoury finish. The wine has a silky, alluring entry; delicately extracted tannins framed and structured the palate. The whole bunch element provides oodles of interesting spices and floral scents, lifting the bouquet with lacy acidity. This beautiful expression of Bendigo Pinot Noir shows complex and ethereal fragrances, spice and black fruit on a delicate, silky palate. Match with tea smoked duck and Perigord truffle over the next 6+ years. Fruit from Bendigo, even mix of clones, 777, 115 & UCD5, fermented naturally in two fermenters – one contains 70% whole bunch, the other 100% destemmed. Spent 23 days on skins, aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 15% new, unfined and unfiltered. 13.6% alc. 19+/20 pts (96 pts) Sep 2022 RRP $65
Kakano by Moko Hills Pinot Noir 2021, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 16-Sep-2022Moderately deep ruby-red, even colour throughout. The nose is youthful, vibrant and pretty, packed with lifted floral perfume, black cherry, boysenberry and a hint of pepper. Medium-bodied, black cherry and boysenberry aromas have a savoury tone, unveiling hibiscus, lavender, bitter orange, cinnamon and pepper. The mouthfeel is smooth with powdery tannin extraction. Integrated acidity carries a hint of bitterness and delicate spice, leaving a warming finish with added interest. This elegant Pinot Noir shows delicate whole bunch details of floral, spice and bitterness with a black-fruited core and a gentle, silky mouthfeel. Match with pigeon and roasted quail over the next 3-5 years. Fruit from Bendigo subregion, clones 777, 115, Abel & UCD5, fermented in three batches, 100% whole bunch, 70% whole bunch, and the other 100% destemmed, all with natural yeast, 23 days on skins, aged in 100% old French oak barrels for 12 months. 13.5%. Unfined and unfiltered. 18.5+/20 pts (94 pts) Sep 2022 RRP $46