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DML VIN - 2021 Vintage Release

Ned Goodwin MW looks at the latest releases from D.M.L VIN, a collaboration between the D’Anna family, Sam Middleton and Jordan Lewis. 2021 is just the third vintage from the trio and it is a triumph of Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir.

Discover the 2021 D.M.L VIN wines here.

 

D.M.L. is a collaborative troika of winemaking royalty d’Anna brothers Anthony and Franco and Sam Middleton of Hoddles Creek and Mount Mary respectively, complemented by AFL legend and astute taster, Jordan Lewis. The first letters of their surnames comprise an acronym that has come to represent exceptional Pinot Noir, hewn of the geological diversity of two of the country’s foremost regions: Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula.

 

From Left to Right, Sam Middleton, Franco d’Anna, Jordan Lewis

From Left to Right, Sam Middleton, Franco d’Anna, Jordan Lewis

 

Characterised by the Yarra’s grey loams and Mornington’s unique red soils and rocky screes, climates of continental and maritime influences respectively, the countenance of these starkly different wines is not only distinguished but inimitable. It is this inimitability, accentuated by a paucity of nutrients in the vineyards and strong diurnal shifts serving to control yields and retain freshness, that Pinot Noir tragics seek. To explain what I mean, inimitability is a nexus of authenticity, a term oft-used but seldom defined. It is inimitability, the holy grail, that defines the world’s truly great wines.
‘It is inimitability, the holy grail, that defines the world’s truly great wines.’
Pinot Noir, transparent and fickle, is often a vector of greatness. At its best, it serves as a conduit of terroir, that uncanny confluence of craft and site, from soil structure, climate, aspect and altitude, naming but a few traits. Let’s remember, however, that while place portends quality, it does not pre-ordain it. It is the skilful articulation as wine that confirms it. With d’Anna and Middleton in the drivers’ seats, we have more than confirmation. We have a life-long warranty!
Pinot Noir on these shores was once defined by relatively simple, forward fruit flavours and a medicinal twang. When studying for the Master of Wine I found domestic expressions relatively easy to identify because of it. But today, as the likes of d’Anna, Middleton and Lewis seek to identify not only regions, but specific sites of prodigious potentiality, we are blessed with vastly better wines. Be they from Macedon, Tasmania’s barely tapped fountain of plenty, or here, in the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula. As Middleton opines, ‘we hope to emphasise the region, vineyard and vintage expression in our wines, rather than the winemaking footprint’.
‘...in 2021, we have a truly exceptional vintage.’ 
Langton’s buyers thought the 2020s to be very good in their own right. Yet in 2021, we have a truly exceptional vintage. The best vintage of the last two decades, according to Middleton. Cooler and attenuated, sans heat spikes, with a wide-open picking window devoid of logistical pressures, notes d’Anna. This stellar year manifests as wines of svelte, shapely and long-limbed tannins, juicy acidity, floral perfumes and a kaleidoscope of red and darker fruit allusions clad with exotic spice. Limpid and glowing in the glass, the Yarra is perhaps the more structured of the two, reflecting the region’s wont for fine-boned tannins, redder fruits and a demure composure. Conversely, the Mornington races long across the palate with a plummy density of fruit and waft of meaty reduction, all in celebration of a joyous precocity. D’Anna and Middleton believe it, at least for now, to be slightly more impressive. Lewis prudently hedges his bets.
Yet time in the cellar may well change this dynamic as Gary Walsh of the Wine Front suggests, opining that the Yarra Pinot Noir is a ‘lovely wine with ‘mineral’ character and a certain cool charm’. He lauds it with 95, a stellar score from an abstemious reviewer. Its Mornington sibling has ‘a gently earthy character…kind of discreet…’, serving it with a 94.
The D.M.L VIN Pinot Noirs are cutting a swath through the world of boutique Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula wines. Discover the wines of D.M.L. VIN.

Further Reading

Timo Mayer’s New Yarra Classics

Timo Mayer’s New Yarra Classics

Timo Mayer's story is one of the Yarra Valley’s greatest in modern times.

Discover DCB Wines Yarra Valley

Discover DCB Wines Yarra Valley

Since 2013 Chris has been making Yarra Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay under his own label.

Burton McMahon a Sense of Place

Burton McMahon a Sense of Place

Read more about the wines of Burton McMahon, Seville Estate and Gundog Estate.

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