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Archive for the ‘vintage 2012’ Category

It’s hard to believe but we have just finished our 40th vintage at our winery in the Clare Valley, South Australia. We’re all so proud of the fact that the world has continued to enjoy our wines for so long!

Vintage officially commenced on the 2nd of February with the harvesting of the delightfully aromatic Gewurztraminer. The next week, we picked Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, quickly followed by Semillon and Riesling. By the end of February, we had harvested all the white varieties from our Clare Valley estate. The fruit looked amazing; clean and fresh with fantastic varietal expression. If we have anything to complain about it would be that yields were slightly down on our predictions. From a white wine perspective, we still had the Adelaide Hills Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to come as that region’s cooler climate dictates later ripening.

The one thing that really kept us on our toes this vintage was that a few of the varieties ripened a lot quicker than we expected. A small block of Shiraz was harvested from the estate in late February which is earlier than usual but the flavours were in the happy zone so we picked! We also took in a small parcel of McLaren Vale Shiraz; destined for our Jaraman range that same week so they certainly were not immune to the phenomenon. By the middle of March we were full steam ahead, well and truly into the thick of vintage 2012. No matter how many you do, it’s always a very exciting time!

The first red grape to be harvested from the estate was the Tempranillo. This was our first crop from the vines planted in 2007. We had previously sourced the fruit for this wine from local Clare Valley grower partners but this year it will be all ours. Our winemakers are very excited and animated when it comes to this wine so I’m really looking forward to trying it once it comes through secondary fermentation and some barrel maturation. We started harvesting the majority of the Shiraz and then the Merlot in early March and again, these will certainly be wines to look out for once released as the flavours and colours are just phenomenal!

We then turned our attention to the Adelaide Hills and prepared for the Pinot Noir to come into the winery and this was quickly followed by the Sauvignon Blanc. We continued to harvest and process the rest of the red varieties throughout March with the last red variety, Cabernet Sauvignon harvested on the 11th of April.

Handcrafted red wine from vintage 2012

Handcrafted red wine from vintage 2012

These too, were the source of great excitement due to the rich, ripe flavours and the fact that we were able to achieve natural ripeness of the tannins. The  type of pedigree required to craft a truly great wine. In fact, our new winemaker Ryan was constantly commenting on the intense, concentrated colours displayed in our Clare Valley reds. Well, I suppose that’s natural really, he has spent the last seven vintages in New Zealand, dealing with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Welcome back to good old South Australia Ryan, home of the country’s richest reds!

All in all, working around the clock for most of vintage, we processed almost 6000 tonnes of grapes for vintage 2012. At the time of posting, all of the white wines had completed fermentation and are being blended as we speak, whilst the reds have almost finished secondary malolactic fermentation. At this early stage, our winemakers are indicating that the wines look fantastic and so I’m really looking forward to our post-vintage assessment tastings that are being held later this month. Cheers!

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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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