Paul Scorpo first introduced Eocene to the world in 2010, when an exceptional vintage for the Mornington Peninsula moved him to bottle his best Chardonnay parcel separately. The wine was a statement, and it hit home.
The name comes from the Merricks North site’s red-brown, clay-rich soils, which are derived from tertiary Eocene volcanics dating back about 40 million years.
A first Pinot bearing the name appeared in 2017, and featured Paul’s younger high-density plantings of Abel clone Pinot Noir – an exercise he repeated with the 95-point 2018 rendition.
And now, for the first time, we have a separate edition of Pinot Noir produced solely from the original plantings, which date back to 1997.
Paul’s entry-level Chardonnay and Pinot – named Aubaine and Noirien respectively – are renowned as offering a fantastically focused Mornington Peninsula experience. The Estate wines are similarly a benchmark for these varieties in this region. So you can just imagine the class and complexity of these top wines.
Well, if you splash out and treat yourself, you won’t have to use your imagination at all. Your senses will do it all for you.
2018 Scorpo Pinot Gris $33
The fruit is grown on the Scorpo family vineyard. Scorpo Pinot Gris is 100% whole bunch-pressed, with most of the must going straight into old barriques with 100% solids for natural-yeast fermentation. A portion was fermented in concrete tank. The wine is left on lees for approximately 11 months. Suitable for vegans.
Lightly yellow copper in colour. Apple, apricot and pear notes combine with musk complexity. More of the same on the palate with the texture that Paul Scorpo’s Estate Gris is renowned for. An excellent example of Peninsula Pinot Gris – silky, focused, unctuous. – Paul Scorpo
This is rich with full-on Gris flavours all out on display. Poached pears, clotted cream with ginger spice, baked apples and crème brûlée and of course, the slippery texture. I wouldn’t hold this much longer: ready now.92 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2022
2020 Scorpo Aubaine Chardonnay $33
50% of the fruit is 95 clone and the other 50% 76 clone, all from the Scorpo Stanleys Road vineyard. The 95 was picked at 12.2 Baumé and the 76 at 12.5 Baumé on 17th March, and processed the following day. The wine was bottled on 22nd December.
Golden pale straw. The nose shows white peach, juicy Pakenham pears, Granny Smith apples and spice. The palate starts lean and tight with flavours of lemon and grapefruit opening to more generous melon with vanilla undertones. Fine chalky finish. – Paul Scorpo
Pear, honey, citrus, a little flint and struck match. Pulls tight with juicy grapefruit, tang of orange and preserved lemon, and offers a firm chalky texture. Good finish. Takes the middle-path of Chardonnay. Nicely done.93 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
2019 Scorpo Estate Chardonnay $52
35% of the fruit is 76 clone from the Scorpo Stanleys Road Vineyard (picked 28th February at 12.7 Baumé), supplemented by 20% 95 clone (picked on 1st March at 12.8 Baumé). The balance (45%) of the blend comes from the Scorpo family vineyard and is a mix of I10, 95 and P58, all picked on 3rd March at 13 Baumé.
Pale straw with green tints, this Chardonnay is appealing from the outset. A nose of nectarine pip, citrus curd, spice and earth lead into lees and struck match. To begin with the palate is tight and focused with citrus and fennel spice dominating. This gives way to nougat, stone fruit hints with leesy complexity and the acidity of crunchy green apple. – Paul Scorpo
Struck match, pink grapefruit, pear skin, a wee bit of caramel butter, fennel and spice. It’s tight, tangy, all the citrus fruits, juicy and tangy, fresh and chalky, some pithy bitterness, and a long firm finish offering plenty of zing and zest. Excellent. A lot of energy and coiled power here.94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
2019 Scorpo Eocene Chardonnay $70
From vines planted in 2008. Clones are 95 Bernard, P50 , I1V10. Wild yeast fermented. No MLF. 20% new oak from the Sirugue cooperage. Bottled unfined.
A seductive nose, yet one that holds its cards close to the chest, with restraint and elegance showcased. Fresh lemon and lime dominate the fruits; however florals are equally present with orange blossom and jasmine. There is an openness to the nose, much like a walk in a meadow with fresh flowers and cut grass. The palate supports the nose: elegance, restraint, fresh and pure. It is precise and detailed with a fine gravelly seam driving the core long and deep. The fruits are again lemon and lime with a smattering of flowers. Hints of toast and nutmeg in the background provide an added richness and complexity to a well-packaged wine. – Paul Scorpo
As you’d expect for the flagship white, this is hand-picked fruit, whole-bunch pressed to French barrels, 25% new, and aged 12 months. No mlf and no lees stirring. Tight as a drum, shot with racy acidity. And no shortage of very flinty sulphides, which would be too much funky reduction, if not for the weight and richness of fruit to balance. Complex, assured, rich, textural, savoury and compelling.96 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2022
Plenty of sulphide and struck match stuff here, alongside Japanese ginger, chamomile, and mixed citrus. It’s tight and hungry, like a Mesonyx on the hunt, with brown pear drizzled with lime, all chalky and flinty, with a cool spicy and zesty tang to close. You have to like them a bit wild and woolly, but excellent wine of bony charm and finesse.95 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front October 2021
2021 Scorpo Pinot Noir Rosé $30
100% Pinot Noir, with 80% coming from the Big Hill block (picked 12th March at 12.5 Baumé) on Scorpo’s Stanleys Road vineyard, and 20% was a saignée portion of Abel clone from the Old Cherry Orchard block on the Scorpo family vineyard. The saignée portion was picked also picked on 12th March and drained the day it was processed. The grapes were whole bunch-pressed straight to barrel, wild fermented and the wine was matured in old barriques.
Well, this is very good. This is how you do it. Red cherry, earthy, spicy, blood orange and fennel. It has flesh, and chew, and texture, and freshness and tang, and stony chalky grip on a long and zesty finish. Wonderful. Charismatic.94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
2020 Scorpo Bestia Pinot Grigio Tradizionale $43
Bestia is based on the method my father Sebastian and his friends made white wine from the 1950s on. It was 100% lightly crushed and wile yeast fermented in concrete fermenters that he had built. This of course all occurred in the garage in Coburg, Melbourne. A true garagiste! After fermentation, the wine was basket pressed (which he built himself) and about 250 litres was made. Mostly it was a mixture of Malvasia with about 5% Waltham Cross. It was matured in old whiskey barrels for about 3 months and then hand bottled. In the seventies we started to source old French wine barrels. My father and his friends would meet most Saturdays for lunch, and play the card game ‘bestia’, meaning the beast. Most of all they met to drink each other’s wines and try to all present that their wine was the superior.
Ripe grapes are harvested. 30% whole bunches with 70% destemmed fruit go into an open-top fermenter. It’s given a five-day cold soak before indigenous-yeast fermentation over two weeks. It’s pressed after 11 days total and aged for 12 months in neutral French oak barriques.
The hue is somewhere between burnt orange and a Mutabilis rose. Rich aromatics, spicy, refined and heady nose. Red ‘Sensation’ pear, oranges, Morello cherry. The palate is grippy with wonderful texture. Briny, spicy, intense and exotic. Savoury phenolics. Flavours of mandarin and orange jube, mixed with pears. Citrus pith and exotic spices accompany the long finish. Suitable for vegans. – Paul Scorpo
2020 Scorpo Noirien Pinot Noir $33
Scorpo Noirien Pinot Noir fruit is grown on the Merricks North vineyard. The Pinot Noir grapes (all MV6) were handpicked and given a three-day cold soak before natural-yeast fermentation with 10% whole clusters included. The wine was matured in concrete tanks and old oak barrels. Suitable for vegans.
10% whole bunches in the fermentation. Matured in 5% new oak barriques for 11 months. This is a really refreshing style of juicy Pinot. It actually has a Beaujolais nouveau feel to it: super-bright and mouth-watering. Juicy cherries, rhubarb, quite herbal yet lightly spiced with an appealing Campari and blood-orange flavour. Tannins light and in the background, acidity in charge here. Delicious. 93 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2022
2019 Scorpo Estate Pinot Noir $59
13% Abel clone from the Scorpo family vineyard’s Old Cherry Orchard block, with 42% MV6 from the orginal plantings, plus 45% MV6 from the Big Hill block on Scorpo’s Stanleys Road Vineyard.
The Abel was picked on 3rd March at 14.6 Baumé; the original-vineyard MV6 was picked on 6th March at 14.3 Baumé; and the Big Hill MV6 was picked on 7th March at 13.8 Baumé. All batches were given a six-day cold soak.
An open and elegant bouquet shows raspberry, mulberry, cranberry and cherry with earthy forest floor and hints of toast adding another layer of complexity. The palate is balanced, composed and collected. Fine, silky tannins display a graphite-like structure with integrated acid and purity, complemented by delicate red fruits of cherries and raspberries. – Paul Scorpo
Ripe raspberry, cherry, a fair bit spice and a subtle sweet soil earthiness, and maybe a little orange zest. It’s flavoursome, soft and plush, but keeps itself pretty fresh, and offers a fine sweep of emery tannin. Finish is long and has something of a ‘mineral’ character too. It’s a great thing to drink, and yes, you don’t notice any alcohol warmth here. Hard to imagine anyone not enjoying this.94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
2018 Scorpo Eocene ‘High-Density Vineyard’ Pinot Noir $87
Hand-picked Abel clone fruit is wild-yeast fermented in open concrete fermenters with 10% whole bunches and 90% destemmed fruit. It is pressed out after 20 days. Indigenous malolactic fermentation follows a few months after the wine is transferred to French oak barrels (20% new). The wine is bottled without fining or filtration 13 months later.
Abel clone vines were close-planted in ’13 at 10 000 vines/ha. Hand-picked, wild yeast-open fermented with 10% whole bunches, 20 days on skins, matured for 13 months in French oak (20% new). The fruit is deep and complex, no surprise, but the savoury tannin support has also been well managed. Watch this space.95 points. James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion
2019 Scorpo Eocene ‘Original Vineyard’ Pinot Noir $87
Vines planted in 1997. 100% MV6. 10% whole cluster. Wild yeast fermented in concrete. Unfined and unfiltered.
Intense raspberries upfront on the nose supported by earthy notes of mushroom and toasted almonds. Spicy nutmeg and cardamom elements add fragrance and herbal notes. The palate is disciplined, dense and dusty with raspberry again the dominant fruit, supported by cherries and plums. The acid is firm and tight whilst still displaying a finesse through a graphite texture. – Paul Scorpo
A boldness of flavour reflects the MV6 clone and its place on the peninsula. Dark cherries, exotic spices with wafts of earth, bitumen and cedary oak. Full bodied and dense, with an abundance of fine-grained tannins, not yet resolved, with perky acidity in the lead. This feels as though it’s still coming together and will unfurl in time.92 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2022
2019 Scorpo Old Vine Shiraz $52
The fruit is grown on the Scorpo family vineyard. The Shiraz grapes (SA2626) were handpicked and 100% whole bunch-fermented with natural yeast in a two-tonne vessel. The wine was pressed out to mature in one 1-year-old barrel with the remainder 4 years and older. Suitable for vegans.
This is almost black, with a shot of red/purple. It’s not a wallflower. There are plenty of steadfast grainy tannins reined in by a ribbon of acidity. Smells great, tastes even better: black cherries, exotic spices plus sumac, the flavours are intense and satisfying. It opens up more and more, revealing a gloss across the full-bodied palate.95 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2022
2018 Scorpo ‘Pinsanto’ Late Harvest Pinot Gris 375ml $35
Fruit from the family’s old Pinot Gris block in Merricks North. The fruit was left to ripen well into autumn so the aromas and flavours could reach their richest potential. Harvest date was mid-April. Martured on lees in older barrels over eight months.
Picked 4 weeks after the normal harvest, 100% whole-bunch pressed, fermented in used French oak. Fun wine, spicy and juicily sweet.92 points. James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2021