• Tasting the latest wine vintage at Point Leo Estate

The 50 acres of vines may have been planted over 20 years ago, but it was when the sculpture park opened in October 2017, that Melbournians began flocking to this scenic spot.

Developed by John Gandel and family, Point Leo Estate overlooks Western Port Bar. The restaurant, cellar door and sculpture garden tick all three boxes of enlivening your tastebuds, widening your eyes and calming your mind.

The tasting list was recently updated to include the latest vintage.  My partner (who is new to wine tasting and loves big Australian Shirazes) and I (who loves balanced French Chardonnays and fruity Viogners) went down to check it out.

2017 Pinot Gris $34

This wine is light and fresh with a mineral nose, acid and tang on the palate without being overly citrusy. The cellar door’s description was floral and aromatic, but today it tasted more of limestone with a strong minerality. This wine was not oaked and spent all its time in stainless steel. I could easily enjoy this one as a fresh summer wine. Unfortunately, my partner did not like it, but it is rare for him to enjoy whites.

2016 Chardonnay $46

This spent eight months on French oak, which came through in its aroma smelling just like being in a wine cave. There was only slight acid with a bitter orange finish and then oak continuing to linger. The cellar door’s description is for stone fruit. It was a nicely balanced wine but the bitter orange at the end was a bit too strong for me. On the palate was softer fruit, but the finish overpowered this. My partner did not like this one at all (but as said before, its hard for him to find a white that suits his palate).

2015 Chardonnay $66

The 2015 season allowed for a more gradual ripening of this fruit, but the wine making process was similar to that of 2016. This held a softer oak on the nose, the same scent as the 2016 but not as strong. There was less acid and less of the bitter orange on the end, but still in a similar style. It was still dry, with less oak on the palate but tannins on the finish. My partner found this one smooth and preferred it greatly to the 2016. He described it as smooth when he first put it on his tongue, and then with a pop on the end.

2014 Chardonnay $66

This held a very interesting nose, it was of soft oak but then more pungent like blue cheese. It was served colder than the other wines. Its tannins were stronger and there was no acid, but I suspected it may have been open for a while. It was a similar style to the 2015 and 2016 with the bitter orange end. All three chardonnays seemed to be made in a similar style, quite balanced and interesting. My partner preferred the 2015 because it was easier to drink, and he felt the aftertaste.

2017 Pinot Noir $46

I am usually partial to a balanced chardonnay, but this was my favourite wine of the tasting. It smelt beautifully of ripe strawberries. It was soft in the palate and fruit driven with ripe berries, then herbaceous and green on the finish. There was also a bit of a pungent cheese taste part way through. It was nicely balanced, an easy to drink Pinot Noir, but still with interest and slight tannins. My partner liked the peppery kick (I didn’t taste that), he said it was mild on the tannins but quite fruity. He said he can tell it is quite young because it doesn’t taste deep or full. Then he admitted he might just think it tastes young because the cellar door staff told him it was. He liked it too.

2017 Shiraz $46

This was my partner’s favourite, “ooh wow, that’s different” was his initial description. He said it was almost like it was aerated because it was bubbling on the tongue. He said it was a lot strong in flavour: just rich, fruity and didn’t leave a yucky flavour in his mouth. My experience with this wine was totally different. It was still ripe, red berries on the nose, but then also salt and pepper. I really didn’t like this wine. The texture was slimy. There were still tannins, especially on the upper gums. The taste was of rosemary, green and young with a bitter finish, salt and tannins that were too strong, then a smiley rose on the finish.

2014 Shiraz $66

This wine had a really weird nose: a kind of gross smell (I could not describe it) but then thyme and dust underneath. The weird smell also extended into the taste. It held very strong tannins and despite being older than the last shiraz, it just seemed too green and young. It needed to open up a bit, it was just too hard to tell. There was a salty finish. Perhaps I would like it more in a few years’ time. My partner tasted it as being similar to the one before. He said it was again rich and fruity with no aftertaste. He liked it but preferred the 2017.

Overall, I found them to be interesting wines, and I enjoyed the Chardonnays, with the Pinot Noir being my favourite. It is always nice to compare wine notes. I am only saddened that my partner and I don’t have similar tastes to often share nice bottles of wine together more often!

Further reviews on the restaurant and sculpture park are in a new post. Spoiler alert - they were wonderful.

Point Leo Estate
3649 Frankston - Flinders Rd
Merricks VIC 3916
03 5989 9011

Point Leo Estate Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato