Wine of the Month – Ten Minutes by Tractor ‘Up the Hill’ Pinot Noir 2017

Ten Minutes By Tractor was established in 1997, in Main Ridge. The original business comprised just three vineyards in the cool upper reaches of the Mornington Peninsula, all ten minutes by tractor. These 3 premium sites were the McCutcheon, Wallis & Judd vineyards.

There are now a further four vineyards that have been added to the impressive portfolio. Over the past 15 years, Martin and Karen Spedding have chosen diverse sites from the Peninsula – each highlighting unique features. Every site reflects a different aspect, altitude, mesoclimate and soils profile. Not to mention the influence from the cool sea breezes. These maritime breezes help to keep the ripening fruit from getting too warm – helping the grapes to ripen slowly – retaining natural acidity, and building complexity.

As some may be aware, the original Ten Minutes by Tractor cellar door and restaurant were devastated by fire in late February, 2018. Since then, the cellar door has been relocated to a temporary ‘pop up’ location at Petit Tracteur, a bistro in Main Ridge owned by TXT.

The original site is being rebuilt, and everyone is looking forward to that happy day – when the cellar door can return –  and the restaurant can reopen.

I will keep you posted with progress and possible opening dates.

Having released the new vintages of the Estate and Single Vineyard wines, on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, I was looking forward to tasting the new Pinot Noirs in the range. Highlighting a diverse and impressive range of style, the tasting was memorable, confirming my view that TXT produce some of the best Pinot Noir in Australia.

Two exciting additions to the portfolio are ‘Up the Hill’ Estate Pinot Noir, and ‘Down the Hill’ Pinot Noir, both 2017 vintage.

‘Up the Hill’ uses fruit from the cooler Main Ridge vineyards, including the original McCutcheon, Judd & Wallis sites. Added to this is one of the newer sites in the TXT portfolio in Main Ridge – the Spedding Vineyard . As mentioned, Main Ridge is the coolest, highest southern portion of the Peninsula. Often, perhaps unkindly referred to by the locals as “Main Fridge”!  The vineyards here range from 206m to 142m. Altitude reduces temperature by 0.6 degrees Celsius, giving these elevated sites a stronger cool climate effect on the wine.


‘Down the Hill’ is made with fruit from the Coolart Road Vineyard in Tuernong. This site is much lower, with an altitude of 72 metres. It is also warmer and dryer than Main Ridge, producing Pinot Noir with deeper colour and more powerful fruit expression.


As usual, all of the wines on tasting at Petit Tracteur  were wonderfully expressive. However I chose to review the ‘Up the Hill’ Pinot Noir – as I found it utterly captivating.

I purchased the wine from the  Petit Tracteur cellar door to taste at home.

As always, these tasting notes are my own opinions and how I perceived the wine at the time of tasting / drinking.


Tasting notes,

Ten Minutes by Tractor,

‘Up the Hill’ Estate Pinot Noir – 2017.

Delicate, light and autumnal hues, a very slight haziness, due to no filtering and  light fining, to preserve the delicate fruit aromas and flavours.

Aromas of dark / sour cherry – and a background of baking spice – clove and cinnamon, perhaps with a fresh grating of nutmeg?

The taste is almost delicate – highlighting the cooler, higher sub region of Main Ridge. Cherry, red berries and spice persist on the palate.

There is a beautiful backdrop note of bacon/chacouterie – adding another level of intrigue.

Light to medium bodied, with layers of gently unfolding flavours and texture.

Beautiful balance – with high quality French oak gently framing the wine, so as to not dominate the delicate fruit. Fresh and vibrant natural acidity, with a gentle dusting of fine grained tannins at the end.

Such a pretty wine.

12.5% alcohol

Single bottle price – $50.


Official Perfect Day Tours Score Out of 100  –  Elegantly Delicious!


Food Pairing.

I was lucky enough to have just made Pea & Ham soup – and homemade sourdough bread.

The smokiness of the ham bone used for the soup worked a treat The natural acidity in the wine honed in on the smokey ham like a drone at a nudist beach.

With the homemade rye sourdough with butter – the wine was soft and velvety on the palate.

If we could all afford to drink this wine with such humble food as homemade pea & ham soup, with homemade sourdough and butter – what a wonderful world it would be.

It occurred to me that the time and love that had been invested in the wine was somehow reflected in my own humble constructs.

A pretty decent lunch.

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