Ocean Eight is the quiet achiever on the Mornington Peninsula. Chilled out and softly spoken owner/ winemaker Mike Aylward has his winery set back on Tucks Rd, Shoreham, and whilst most people that visit the area pass it by, it doesn’t get lost on some of the best wine lists across the world.
Mike’s wines are somewhat unconventional. His Chardonnays are electric, citrus focused with seriously high acidity. The Pinot Noirs are rustic, again with high acidity and a slightly cloudy appearance. They possess a core of juicy sweet red fruits and an awesome mix of spice, which provide a powerful perfume and a salivating palate. Those that like dark, oak sweet, silky, jammy Pinots may not like these, though some of the world’s best sommeliers at three Michelin restaurants Le Bernadin, Eleven Madison Park and Roubechon have seen the quality and bought these wines in spades.
When Ocean Eight commenced operations in 2004, Mike and his old man developed a purpose built, gravity fed winery with an underground barrel room into old horse stables on the back roads of Upper Shoreham. Mike Aylward farms the Pinot Noir vineyard over the hill on the Dromana side of the Peninsula, which provides fertile slopes looking out over Port Phillip Bay. This provides gentle, cooling breezes during the warm growing season. The vines were planted in 1999 on well-draining sandy, loam soils.
Mike's inspired by Burgundian ideals of minimal intervention, natural winemaking techniques and preference for reductive handling, gravity movement and old barrels in the cellar. The winemaking is very simple, with the intent of expressing the quality of the site. Yields are very low, between 1 and 2.2 tonne to the acre. All fruit is hand harvested and ferments are cool and natural. The cool, wild yeast ferment on the Pinot Noir builds enticing aromatics, whilst constant plunging helps extract colour and flavour.
We recommend decanting Ocean Eight’s Pinot Noirs an hour before serving and letting the cloudiness settle. You are likely to see some sediment through the Pinot as they are unfined and unfiltered. 2016 was a warmer and more generous vintage, meaning the wines won’t cellar as long as the 2015 or the 2017 vintage though will drink very well through to 2022.
Drink with roast duck or chicken. Appreciate the aroma of this wine and the rustic nature.
As always, just shoot us an email if you'd like more information.