Vintage Report 2010
Once again I find myself gazing out on a dampen vineyard. Leaves clinging on for dear life, and the latest vintage resting in tank and barrel.
This year's vintage again was subjected to the weather gods, and an earlier onset of ripening brought us more in line with the vintage of 2008. Like last year we began with the Semillon from the warmer climes of Boyup. A little earlier, but with our aim to capture more natural acidity we managed to secure a very good start to the harvest.
The dry summer of 2009/2010 played a perfect introduction to the ripening and accumulation of flavours on the vine. With an even ripeness and good vine health throughout the vineyard, these conditions were perfectly suited to our dry grown mantra.
Like in every winemaking region, optimal ripeness doesnâ€™t necessarily mean you have to be hitting 15% alcohol in the reds and tropical flavours in the whites. It means ripeness is achieved once you believe the vine has offered up a fruit that is harmonious both in flavour and balance.
This year optimal ripeness was achieved about 2 weeks earlier in the whites and almost 3 weeks in the reds. With flavour and natural acidity the key determinants in mind, we picked both the whites and reds at a point, that I believe, allows them to express our regional identity.
The Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc were picked with a little less sugar this year, and this allowed us to capture their elegance at a point where those snow pea, lychee and grassy notes were balanced by the lean, zesty and mouth puckering acids. The SSB and SB have all been blended and I can assure you they will delight from the discerning drinker to the quoffer.
The Riesling was again a star performer. For a variety with such a small following, it offers so much and it boggles as to why this variety isn't on every wine list. Riesling, especially from this region epitomises how well a variety can express regionality. Beautiful mineral, chalk and lean acidity, underlay floral, citrus and marzipan notes. This wine is for now and later, and will only develop with age. Well worth a look now and in 10 years.
A small portion of Chardonnay was allocated to the Reserve range this year, and with only free run juice and wild yeast used, this wine will appeal to both ABC drinkers and steadfast stalwarts.
The reds arrived a lot earlier this year, but with similar if not more elevated sugar levels. A bonus on all accounts as our vineyard manager, Nigel, does get nervous when dark clouds appear on the horizon the later the season goes!
The Cabernet, Shiraz and Merlot were all picked at the same time. With fantastic early colour development the promise for a bumper red year was evident. With blueberries, spice and all things nice, these reds will be laid to rest and eagerly anticipated in years to come.
This year also saw us take in some Pinot Noir and Tempranillo. Something for the traditionalist, and the modern wine junky among us. The Pinot will be, im sure, a point of long winded discourse. However the Tempranillo is proving to be an inviting, not too distant prospect!
So while your finishing off the remnants of your 2009 and older stock take comfort in the knowledge that this years growth is only around the corner.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed making it.