This was a very good vintage which I’d be happy to repeat if it was offered!
The weather was in our favour, with a wet finish to the winter providing good soil moisture for the start of the growing season.
Budburst was around average time but as the spring progressed it became warmer and drier than usual. My diary note of mid-October says “warm days – vines growing very fast”. There is another note a few days later recording that Harper broke his wrist at school playing soccer on 24 October! (it wasn’t a bad break and healed quickly with a few weeks in a cast).
By November the temperatures were way above average (November recorded 12 days over 30 degrees!) and you may remember we all had to contend with a warm cellar door opening weekend. I thought this early heat might ruin the flowering but the Grenache at McLaren Vale set a good sized crop despite the warmth. The Shiraz and Cabernet at Langhorne Creek didn’t like it as much, with yields down about 30%.
On one of our regular trips to Langhorne Creek at this time, we visited ‘Small World Bakery’ to collect some loaves we’d ordered on-line. What great bread and lovely people we discovered! This was early days for Emily and Chris, who now have a stall at the Willunga Farmer’s Market so we can easily consume their bread more regularly. It is seriously good bread (I don’t know of any better in Australia) and they do the lot, even sourcing and in some cases growing the grain themselves. This is the way bread should be. Amazing.
The summer was a good one, devoid of damaging heatwaves with the exception of one very hot week in the middle of January which burnt some exposed grapes. February is the critical month for determining the style of the wines and was slightly warmer and drier than usual, gifting a fullness of body and robust style to the wines of this vintage. The fine, mild weather continued into March, allowing us to harvest at the perfect moment for all of our vineyards, without the rush of recent ‘climate change’ seasons. It made the harvest work a pleasure.
Our friend Sarah from Japan joined us in mid-March to help out and learn more about Australian wine. Her cheeky smile and positive attitude to life made her a pleasure to have around and we shared many good meals, often late at night (thanks Rae).
The picking times over all the blocks were about a week ahead of usual. We finished with the Main Road Cabernet on Tuesday 3 April after the Easter weekend.
The alcohol levels of the wines are slightly higher this year; above 16% for the Eclipse and Shiraz; 15.5% for the Reserve Cabernet.