Difficult weather, but small crops and rigorous selection = good wines.
The taste of a wine is influenced by the weather of the season in which it is grown, of course. But there are other factors involved and the challenge for winemakers is to manage and work with what the weather produces to maximise the quality of each year’s wines.
The 2000 season produced plenty of challenges! We had a warm start to Spring leading to big vine growth followed by a cooler November – dangerous conditions for fungus disease development. Fortunately (as it turned out) this also resulted in a poor set, so crops were going to be down. Then followed a gradual increase in Summer temperatures (and improving prospects) until things went crazy in February, with two weeks of really hot weather, followed by sudden, quite heavy rain!
The February heatwave hastened the ripening of the small crop and harvest began soon after (as soon as the soil had dried out) historically early. There were outbreaks of bunch rot in both McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek after the rain but none of our vineyards were seriously affected (fortunately). As a consequence of all of this the 2000 season has a fairly poor reputation in some quarters.
However, I believe you will be happy with the wines from this vintage. Why? Because the small crops led to the inevitable concentrating effect this has on the wines and because we selected carefully, using only the best grapes and wines in the final blends (and resulting in quite a bit of Cleanskin!).
So, although the wines are not as sweetly ripe in style as in some seasons they are concentrated and of good quality.