Fertile grazing land for over 100 years prior, the 11-hectare LL Vineyard was planted in 1989. Surrounded by ocean on three sides, the Mornington Peninsula is perfect for cool climate viticulture, and the verdant slopes of Merricks North are home to the 11-hectare LL Vineyard. Planted in 1989 the vineyard is bordered by native bushland that harbours wrens, wagtails, and honeyeaters. The vineyard is patrolled by families of magpies, while pairs of wedgetail eagles live in the old pine tree windbreaks. Mobs of grey kangaroos also move across the vineyard at dawn and dusk.

The vines themselves are planted east-west and form neat, vertical hedges through late spring to late January when the nets go on to prevent the local birds and kangaroos from eating the crop. Harvest is in mid-March, then the vineyard slowly transforms to golden, falling leaves, which mulch the vine rows, while the bare vines are pruned back to sparse canes to commence the whole season again.

Winemaker Geraldine McFaul’s understanding of the terroir and its subtleties is instinctive, while her careful and complementary handling creates expressive wines where less is more. Manipulation of the intrinsic balance provided by each season is avoided wherever possible.

With a fastidious focus on cool­-climate chardonnay and pinot noir, the wines are a pure expression of the site and some of the most elegant single-vineyard wines on the Mornington Peninsula. Original viticulturist Robbie O’Leary handed full-time custodianship of the vineyard to Ant Davenport in 2017, where the legacy of hand-tending each parcel continues with and unswerving focus on growing the best possible wine.

LL Vineyard Chardonnay typically exhibits notes of stone fruit and citrus, while a judicious touch of new French oak bestows a delicate nutty character. The palate balances a creamy texture against a backbone of flint, while a fresh line of acidity drives the palate.

Our Pinot Noir is enticingly perfumed, displaying lifted aromas of wild red cherries and forest floor, while the palate possesses a structured elegance of finely etched tannins. A portion of whole-bunch and carbonic maceration yields greater structure and complexity to the fruit from our O’Leary Block.