Mount Mary Quintet 2021

Mount Mary Quintet 2021

Sale price$209.50
Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Style: Red Wine

Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Merlot (30%), Cabernet Franc (17%), Petit Verdot (6%), Malbec (2%)

Closure: Cork

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Mount Mary Quintet 2021

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Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124

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Producer: Mount Mary

Country: Australia

Region: Yarra Valley

Vintage: 2021

Critic Score: 98

Alcohol: 13.3%

Size: 750 ml

Drink by: 2050

It’s a magnificent wine, and one for the ages - Gary Walsh

James Suckling Top 100 Wines of Australia 2023

The Mount Mary Quintet is one of the iconic wines of Australia and one of the jewels of the Yarra Valley. It is a blend of the five Bordeaux varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot - sourced from the Yarra's most revered vineyard. Mount Mary Quintet is one of 'Langton's Heritage Five' which celebrates Australia's most exceptional and ground-breaking wines. 

"This is a special Quintet (and I don't say this lightly) from the first. Aromas of blackberries, blackcurrants, dark cherry skins and crushed violets. A whisper of pencil-shaving oak. An elegant, concentrated, pure and structured wine that will become even more special with time. As I was tasting it, Radiohead's opening track from Kid A came to mind. Everything in Its Right Place, indeed."  Philip Rich

"From the outset Mount Mary produced wines of rare finesse and purity. Today its star shines brighter than that of any of the 169 producers in the Yarra Valley. The Quintet stands proudly at the head of the portfolio."  James Halliday 

"45% Cabernet sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 17% Cabernet franc, 6% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot. The 2021 is a Quintet to sit comfortably alongside our famed 1990, 2015 and 2019 renditions. Although this wine offers some early drinkability and enjoyment now it does not even come close to revealing what it will offer in years to come.

The nose offers red cherry, violets, spice and some earthy undertones. The palate is driven by red fruits, intertwined with spicy French oak; however it is really the quality of tannin that defines this wine on the palate. Not since the 2013 vintage have we seen this quality and quantity of fine grain tannin present, giving this wine such an appealing structure and persistence through the palate. It will age tremendously well for at least 3 decades."  Mount Mary

Mount Mary - Halliday Wine Companion Winery of the Year 2018

Mount Mary - Halliday Wine Companion Winery of the Year 2018
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Expert reviews

"Among the ten vintage flight that I was privy to, this is arguably the finest of them all, sitting pretty alongside its rival, the stunning 2015. Medium-bodied, taut and understated, as the Quintet always is. Graphite, pencil lead, blood plum and a fleck of red and black currant. The wine's signature, a kit of gorgeous, sinuous tannins that reflect the later picking windows of more recent years. This could easily be nudged up a point. Best after 2028."  Ned Goodwin, – 98 points and Top 100 Wines of Australia 2023

"A blend of 45/30/17/6/2% cabernet sauvignon/merlot/cabernet franc/malbec/petit verdot. Fermented with whole berries and at different temperatures, depending on the variety. All varieties are matured in both barriques and 1600L foudres for 12 months then racked into barriques (35% new) for another 10 months before blending and bottling. A saturated purple-red. This is a special Quintet (and I don't say this lightly) from the first. Aromas of blackberries, blackcurrants, dark cherry skins and crushed violets. A whisper of pencil-shaving oak. An elegant, concentrated, pure and structured wine that will become even more special with time. As I was tasting it, Radiohead's opening track from Kid A came to mind. Everything in Its Right Place, indeed. Drink by 2040."  Philip Rich, Halliday Wine Companion - 98 points

"It's no secret that the Quintet is one of my favorite Cabernet blends in Australia. I collect a few bottles for my cellar each year because of three reasons: they speak of site and place eloquently and gracefully, they age in the same manner, and despite every and any season, the dry-grown vines prevail. I love the vintage variation through the lens of house style; these are natural feeling, unforced vineyard wines and a proud statement of what is possible in the world of global Cabernet, and Australian Cabernet more specifically.

So, the 2021 Quintet comprises 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, Cabernet Franc 17%, Petit Verdot 6% and Malbec 2%. On the nose, there is a forest of red berries—mid-weight and balanced in their flow of aromatics. It has notes of pomegranate, cassis, a hint of cocoa, graphite and tobacco, star anise and salted licorice. In the mouth, the calling card of this estate is undoubtedly the tannins, and they flow and weave through the fruit at every turn. This is a silken wine, the tannins like carded silk. If you've ever carded fleece or a raw substrate like that, you know the satisfaction and progress of that process. The tannins here have that open-weave, unfettered feeling—they are what they are and are not created/built/etc. There is nothing forced here. The season has yielded a balanced and fine wine, and the tannins feel like they plume through the fruit, like blood in the water. I cannot separate the fruit from the tannin. It's chewy. Excellent. I'm looking forward to seeing this again in a decade. Drink: 2023 - 2063."  Erin Larkin, Wine Advocate - 98 points

"45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 6% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot. All the good things. I tasted a 2021 Coleraine the other day, and in many ways, this wine echoes that one. And last year I opened an 18 MM alongside an 18 Coleraine, and it was the same kind of thing. Obviously they are different, and yet, they have a kinship. I think it’s to do with this restrained intensity, acid and tannin balance, and quintessential Cabernet blend perfume. Just an observation really. If you’re feeling flush, you should try it yourself some day. I can pretty much guarantee you won’t have a bad time.

The pencils and the perfume, crushed small berries, essence-like in a way, with tobacco and a little crushed leaf. It’s medium-bodied, tense and so controlled, firm graphite tannin, a clean cranberry crunch to acidity etches it so finely, and the finish is floral, stony and supremely long. Frisson and finesse. It’s a magnificent wine, and one for the ages. Drink 2026-2047+."  Gary Walsh, The Wine Front - 97+ points 


James Suckling Top 100 Wines of Australia 2023

Dr John & Sam Middleton

Dr John and Marli Middleton

 Dr John and Marli Middleton

Dr John Middleton was a prominent physician and a giant of the Australian wine industry. He played a leading role in the renaissance of the Yarra Valley as a premium wine-producing region when he founded Mount Mary in 1971, as it had been 50 years since the Valley had produced any wine.

John was the son of a country doctor and initially followed in his father's footsteps. "John studied medicine at Melbourne University, where he met arts student Marli Russell, who was to become his wife. He graduated with honours in all subjects and was awarded prestigious medical prizes. To the surprise of friends and colleagues, this talented graduate from a privileged background chose not to become what was known in those days as 'a Collins Street specialist'. He had no desire to be a rich, society medico. He had a deep social conscience and as a physician, he would treat and counsel an entire family for the price of one patient.” Philip Jones, The Sydney Morning Herald

In the 1960s John and Marli, driven by a passion for fine table wine, made many visits to the wine producing regions of the world and in particular, to Bordeaux and Burgundy. They soon became hooked on French premium wines and the thought of producing something similar in Australia. They resolved to find a suitable site upon which to establish a small commercial vineyard with the intention of making elegant, low-alcohol wines from French varieties.

When John finally decided to devote his life to making wine, he didn't let his busy medical practice impede his search for the perfect vineyard site. He walked the slopes of the low hills surrounding the Yarra Valley and arranged for soil to be tested. It was in 1971 that he came across Mount Mary, a property that had grey-clay soil and a north-facing slope ideal for grape growing.

John planted 25 acres of vines in 1972 and produced the first Mount Mary vintage in 1976. The release comprised four wines: Quintet (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot), Triolet (a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle), Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

John's attention to detail was legendary and he possessed a relentless drive for perfection. "John Middleton practised near-obsessive attention to detail long before that phrase slid into oenological vernacular. Even journalists were vetted before being allowed into the winery, its sanitary standard that of a hospital operating theatre. And therein lay the secret of the quality of the wines. Infinite care was taken with every stage of converting grapes into wine to be released when (in Middleton's view) it was ready.” James Halliday

John never sought media attention, there were no public tastings, no cellar door sales, no winemaker dinners and no advertising; the sole marketing expense was an annual A4 brochure sent to clients on his mailing list. "I still recall John Middleton eschewing all the glitz and glam of wine marketing and PR, boycotting the wine shows and expos, refusing to send a bottle for a magazine tasting because 'we might have all been drinking coffee or eating garlic for breakfast'. It was all irrelevant to him. All that mattered was what went into the bottle. No advertising, no fanfare, no flying the word's press to the winery for a party. Whatever fame Mount Mary has attained, it has achieved solely on the back of its wine quality. And that's a lot of fame.”  Huon Hooke 

It is a classic understatement to say that John was a complex personality. When I first started seriously purchasing wine, the highlight of the buying year was tasting the new vintage release wines at Mount Mary, but more particularly spending time talking with John. My fondest memory was the year I arrived to find John leaning on the driveway gate, in a particularly reflective mood, and listening to his long discourse on a wide range of subjects.

"John did not suffer fools gladly. He wrote an annual newsletter that was usually controversial and, if he thought it was deserved, would attack politicians, government departments and critics with withering contempt. John would usually leave it until perhaps the fourth sentence for his first shot of invective, and by then it was on for young and old. He somehow contrived to address the majority of important issues facing the global wine industry, plus anything else that came to mind, in and around the loose context of introducing his loyal band of buyers to Mount Mary's forthcoming wine release. One stoush over government interference stemmed from state and federal excise on quality wine on the professed grounds of curbing alcoholism. 'These (connoisseurs of quality wines) are the last people to be viewed as drunkards,' he noted. It was riveting stuff; never dull, always intelligent and never failing to overlook any technical or political reality that might have weakened his case. John's intensity, focus and the strength of his self-belief will long remain in the consciousness of everyone who knew him.” A combination of excerpts from Angus Hughson, The Wine Genius and Philip Jones, The Sydney Morning Herald

John Middleton made Mount Mary one of Australia's greatest vineyards. "John relentlessly strove for perfection and all 4 of the wines in the original Mount Mary portfolio achieved just that. By the time John died in 2006, aged 82, Mount Mary's wines had long been recognised as the leader of the Yarra Valley pack." James Halliday

Sam Middleton

Mount Mary is in the form of its life with Sam Middleton as Head Winemaker, a position he has held since 2011. "Current winemaker and third-generation family member Sam Middleton has managed to sensitively and intelligently refine the wines to their highest-ever level of quality, driven from the vineyard up.” Nick Stock

Sam Middleton is a third generation winemaker from the Mount Mary family. He holds a degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne as well as a degree in Wine Science from Charles Sturt University. His background includes employment at several significant producers including Coldstream Hills and Dominique Portet. Sam has gained experience in France working vintage in Burgundy in 2009 and travelling extensively through other wine regions. Bordeaux is of special interest to him as a result of its role in Mount Mary's history.

Growing up in the Yarra Valley alongside his father and grandfather, grapes and wine have always been a part of life. He has always demonstrated a passion for primary production and has a deep respect for this region and its unique ability to produce world-class wines. 

Mount Mary is entering its second golden age with Sam Middleton in charge of the winemaking process. "Charming grandson Sam Middleton is equally dedicated (as Dr John Middleton). An all-encompassing recent tasting of every vintage of the 4 wines in the original Mount Mary portfolio left me in no doubt he is making even better wines.” James Halliday 

About the winery

Mount Mary Vineyard

Mount Mary, a highly acclaimed single vineyard estate located in the heart of the Yarra Valley, is owned and operated by the Middleton family. Dr John Middleton purchased Mount Mary in 1971 and planted 25 acres of vines the following year on a north facing slope that captures optimum sunlight during the growing season. John played a leading role in the renaissance of the Yarra Valley as a premium wine-producing region, as it had been 50 years since the Valley had produced any wine, and duly established himself as a giant of the Australian wine industry.

Since the first vintage in 1976, Mount Mary has established itself as one of Australia's most highly regarded producers, commanding a mythical status among wine collectors. John established a stellar reputation, with the winery's small (3000 case) production selling out quickly each year. The purity of fruit, poise and structure of Quintet, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot blend, epitomises the estate. It resonates with individuality of place and John's fastidious respect for the landscape.

The Mount Mary Vineyard estate wines are premium handcrafted wines produced in limited quantities. The four wines are Quintet, Triolet (a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle), Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The first two wines are classic Bordeaux blends, while the latter two are varieties traditionally grown and made in Burgundy.

Mount Mary celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021 and today has around 40 acres under vine planted to 18 grape varieties. Mount Mary has continued to take great steps forward while staying true to the vision of Dr John, who died in 2006. His son David oversees the business while grandson Sam Middleton has held the role of Head Winemaker since 2011. "It's axiomatic that generational change can be good or bad, obvious or discreet. The changes at Mount Mary have been unambiguously good, but fittingly discreet.” James Halliday

In 2008, in response to changing environmental conditions and a desire to evaluate new varieties, Mount Mary established additional vineyard areas on the estate and planted a number of varieties that have traditionally been grown in the Rhône Valley. The varieties planted include three white grapes, Marsanne, Roussanne and Clairette and four red grapes, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. In 2014 Mount Mary released two new wines under the Marli Rusell label, named after Marli Middleton (nee Russell), wife of John and co-founder of Mount Mary. One is a blend of the three white Rhône varietals, the other a blend of the four red Rhône varietals. 

"More than half the land area of Mount Mary is not directly related to wine production. The health of our property is of primary concern and we have the long-term objective of being self-sufficient in energy and water. We are also keen to limit our impact on the environment through revegetation and weed control. Despite the many challenges that have been presented to us over the past few years, progress toward our environmental goals continues. We are on a journey of continuous improvement and while we still have a long way to go to reach all of our goals, great progress has been made in with our planting program and our water and energy system designs. Work has begun on the reticulation of our harvested water supplies, the modernisation of our winery wastewater management and the energy efficiency of our winery. Our revegetation areas are already attracting increased numbers of native birds and our Snow Gum conservation area is looking good. We are continuing with our program of collecting a variety of native seed for propagation.

The ultimate goal of our environmental works is to be energy and water efficient, relying less on outside supply, to provide additional habitat for native species, and to limit our negative impacts by containing and treating waste products on site. Renewable power, water collection and recycling, and redesigned facilities are at the centre of these improvements.

Although we are not certified biodynamic or organic we have a very keen interest in soil health and improving the environment around us. We are striving for a sustainable and robust viticultural system to ensure the long-term future of our site and the continual evolution of our wines. To help with this vision we adopt many viticultural practices, which include spreading compost in order to manipulate the soil microbiology and increase soil organic matter, along with spreading small amounts of organic fertilisers, and in some blocks mulching undervine with straw to increase soil water retention.

We like to minimize the use of machinery in our vineyard in order to reduce the amount of soil compaction within the vine row. Cover crops are sown down every alternate row which helps to increase soil organic matter, improve soil structure and provide a home for the many beneficial insects which play an important role in pest management. We continue to strive towards a spray program that only involves chemical use when absolutely necessary. We are focused on doing these things to ensure a healthy, sustainable environment."  Mount Mary 

Mount Mary Winery

Mount Mary Winery (click on image to play video)

Wine region map of Victoria


Victoria is home to more than 800 wineries across 21 wine regions. The regions are Alpine Valley, Beechworth, Bendigo, Geelong, Gippsland, Glenrowan, Goulburn Valley, Grampians, Heathcote, Henty, King Valley, Macedon Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Murray Darling, Pyrenees, Rutherglen, Strathbogie Ranges, Sunbury, Swan Hill, Upper Goulburn and Yarra Valley.

Victoria's first vines were planted at Yering in the Yarra Valley in 1838. By 1868 over 3,000 acres had been planted in Victoria, establishing Victoria as the premier wine State of the day. Today, the original vineyards planted at Best's Wines are among the oldest and rarest pre-phylloxera plantings in the world.

Victoria's climate varies from hot and dry in the north to cool in the south and each wine region specialises in different varietals. For example, Rutherglen in the north is famous for its opulent Muscats and Topaque and bold reds, while the many cooler climate regions near Melbourne produce world class Chardonnay and pinot Noir. Victoria is truly a wine lover's playground.