My perfectionist sister has come up with this smart motto to keep her tendencies getting too out of control – best is the enemy of better. Correct, right? Wouldn’t it be a better world if more of us simply strove to improve ourselves rather than seeking the ideal world through perfection? The competition to be best leaves many participants still standing at the starting blocks and most of the rest scattered distraught along the length of the track. So just as I was coming to grips with this post-financial crisis of the over-achieving generation mantra, I went to meet Sandro Mosele at his Kooyong Estate winery, 90 minutes south of Melbourne.
Kooyong Estate wines are like drinking a page from a Paul Auster book. You can’t read only one page and after having spent untold minutes pondering the sophistication, beauty and complexity of the creation, it is almost impossible to describe it. You know you appreciate it, love in perhaps and yet when asked why your jaw just drops, eyes glaze over and you thrust the book into the questioner’s hands and say “read it for yourself”.
Kooyong wines are the most sought after wines in our range. We should offer a mixed case of their spectacular Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a copy of Book of Illusions by Mr. Auster. There’s a novel marketing idea!
If you have perfectionist tendencies then I recommend meeting Sandro before you try his wines. As you can see from his photo below, his perfectionism is focused on his wines (and certainly not his old Volvo stationwagon) which gives you heart that his Mornington Peninsula Follies are more than just the Music of Chance. This Oracle from the Melbourne suburbs is so focused on creating a wine that in his palate is perfect his lofty ambitions could dub him Mr. Vertigo. Now you have met him, then try the wines…….
If you can afford and are a fan of Burgundy and find the intense fruit of New World Pinot Noir too over powering then Kooyong Estate’s Pinot Noir could, maybe, possibly be interesting for you. I really detest comparing New World wines with Old World masters like “this Aussie Shiraz Viognier is in the style of Cote du Rhone, or this Californian Chardonnay has distinct Chablis qualities.” Hey, if I want a Cote du Rhone or a Chablis I will buy one with the big Made in France label on it, so don’t take the easy way out and describe this New World wine in terms other than its own reference points.
Sandro strives for perfection and you can taste it in his wines and see it in his eyes when he explains the minute temperature control benefits obtained from his latest purchase of French oak fermenters (almost unseen in Australia). To put the Chardonnay among its correct reference points, it is Kiera Knightely in silk underwear driving a golden Maserati spyder. And Kiera will also look even better in her smalls in 10 years time!
The Kooyong Estate Pinot Noir is another story completely. This is Heath Ledger playing The Joker in the latest Batman Movie. It is so smooth, so complex, so powerful and intruiging it scares you, won’t leave your mind and instantly raises comparisons to the other great Jokers over the years (Nicholson for example). This is a Pinot Noir that only a perfectionist can make.
The few short hours we had with Sandro down on the Peninsula vastly added to my knowledge and appreciation of his wines (Port Philip Estate included) and totally shot down any hope I had of living to my sister’s new found motto of “best is the enemy of better,” with wines like these, is it really?
Below are some photos of Peter Walker, our legendary agent in Australia, Sandro and myself.