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Archive for the ‘Shiraz’ Category

The weather conditions in the lead up to harvest have been ideal and we have all been enjoying the return to relative normalcy after what we experienced last year!  Winter rainfall has been in line with the long term averages and consequently soil moisture levels are good.  The vines are looking fantastic with healthy green canopies protecting the developing grapes.

Vintage officially commenced on the 2nd of February with the harvesting of our Gewurztraminer from the Eighty Acres block on our Clare valley estate.  The next week, we picked some Pinot Gris, closely followed by Riesling and Chardonnay.  The fruit coming in looks very good; clean and fresh with good varietal expression.  If we have anything to complain about it would be that yields are slightly down on our predictions. The other thing that’s keeping us on our toes is that everything is ripening a lot quicker than we expected.  A small block of Shiraz was harvested on the 23rd of February which is earlier than normal but the flavours were in the zone so we picked!  By the end of the month, we had harvested all the white varieties form the estate.

Throughout vintage, it’s really important for our winemakers and vineyard team to keep a watchful eye on flavour development as well as sugar ripeness.  The Baume (sugar ripeness) may be at the right level but if the flavours are not fully developed, it’s imperative for the quality of the end wine that we wait until the flavours are in the optimal zone.  The pressure can be particularly heightened when rainfall is on the horizon.  Holding your nerve can be the difference between green under ripe flavours and perfection in the wine. It’s always a tense time when you have to choose between picking the fruit too early and letting it get spoiled by excessive rainfall.  Mother Nature can either be cruel or kind in this regard.

At this early stage, we are full steam ahead and well and truly into the thick of things as far as vintage 2012 is concerned. No matter how many you do, it’s always a very exciting time.  This is what I love about wine – it’s not just a beverage that you can make from a recipe anytime you like.  It’s crafted from nature and represents a snapshot in time or history even.  I wonder what life will be like when we are enjoying the fruits of our labour from vintage 2012?

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