2005 has turned out to be a landmark harvest for us. It is a vintage which we will compare future harvests with because of both the quality of the wines and the size of the crop.
This rare blessing has come about due to some pretty amazing weather. (I can’t help but wonder if this is due to the effects of global warming….) Specifically, the incredibly dry, warm conditions which prevailed throughout the harvest period broke some long standing records.
It was: The hottest April (the main harvest month in 2005) since 1923 and one of the driest autumns ever.
These conditions created a dream vintage, where the grapes could be ripened to the peak of maturity without a sign of rain to interfere. And the warm, dry weather stayed with us until the last of the crop was gathered…and beyond!
Amazingly we were in short sleeves throughout, even during pressing the last vats off in May. By this time (the crop safely in barrel) we were starting to wish it would rain!
But the sun continued to shine and the rain held off throughout all of May (unheard of) until finally arriving on the 9th of June and raining non-stop for 2 weeks. This was, in effect, a great start to the next growing season.
Season 2005 began early, with a period of warm weather in mid August leading to an early bud break before cooler conditions in September slowed things up. October was unusually dry and very warm leading to rapid growth and quite big vine canopies.
The flowering was very successful despite rain in the first week of November, resulting in a large potential Grenache crop and above average crops on the Shiraz and Cabernet blocks. The summer was relatively mild, with warm weather in December and January without any heat waves and February being quite cool.
We carried out a crop thinning on the old Grenache in late summer, removing every 4th or 5th bunch as a form of quality insurance. From the beginning of autumn, conditions became increasingly dry and sunny and the prospects of a high quality harvest became better and better.
Berry size was small across all varieties and the vine canopies were in good condition. Sugar levels started to rise quickly but the flavour in the berries was slower to develop this year so we waited. The weather remained glorious. We slowly gathered the large crop, in excellent condition and at very high ripeness levels.
This equates to some pretty big wines. They also appear to have excellent structure for ageing with firm tannins being a feature, especially of the Shiraz. The natural acid levels were quite high providing balance despite the high ripeness. Aromatically, they are very expressive and loaded with fruit, particularly the Eclipse. They deliver a big mouthful of flavour, along with great balance and ageing potential.
I think you’ll be happy with the 2005 wines now and for many years to come.
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