In short, 1999 has turned out better reds than we first expected. They came from a summer that was warmer than 1998 and they show it, with deep colours and ripe flavours.
The showers that affected the picking period were not heavy enough to cause any dilution in the wines but moderated the alcohol levels slightly and gave the 1999s a somewhat tighter structure than 1998 or 1997. This means that they will require a little patience to be at their best.
The result, for our three principal reds (Eclipse, R/Shiraz, R/Cabernet) is a rather more refined, slightly more elegant, slightly drier style than the ’97 or ’98s whilst retaining generous depth of flavour.
The tighter structure of these wines makes them excellent candidates for a few years of bottle age to really bring them to optimum drinking.
Then there was the miracle of a dry, mostly sunny April which enabled us, against the odds, to late-harvest a little of our oldest Grenache to produce a few barrels of Solaire and V.P. Both of these wines have also turned out very well, with a depth of flavour which is amazing. Truly a product of special seasonal conditions, we were unfortunately not able to produce either of these wines in the 2000 harvest.
So overall we are happy with the 1999 vintage – the last of the 19-somethings!