The 2012 Vintage - excellent across the board.
In brief: A warm, dry spring and beginning to summer produced an early harvest. The arrival of cooler weather in the final month of ripening extended the growing season nicely. This gave extra time for flavour development in the grape berries and was the key factor in the high quality of vintage 2012. Our nerves were tested somewhat by a downpour just before picking started but settled weather soon returned and the cooler conditions were a blessing overall.
The quantity was down at McLaren Vale but up slightly at Langhorne Creek and we are very pleased with the wines from this vintage.
In detail: The 2012 season began with a relatively warm, dry winter. We were surprised to find that June, July and August were not short of rain days so much as short of rain. That is, there were the usual number of rainy days but when it rained, not much fell. Conditions remained warmer and drier than normal throughout spring and by the last month of spring (November) it was much warmer than usual.
These conditions led to precocious development of the vine growth and an early flowering, paving the way for an early harvest. Our unirrigated vineyards at McLaren Vale set a smaller crop because of the dry conditions but the Borrett family blocks at Langhorne Creek set well thanks to receiving a winter flood before the start of the growing season.
The season became really interesting as the harvest drew nearer. Temperatures which had run consistently above average through the growing season to this point suddenly took a dive in the last couple of days of January and stayed down for nearly all of February, until a couple of hot days on the 24th and 25th preceded a major rain event in McLaren Vale that quickly became referred to by some as “the flood”! Heavy rain fell across McLaren Vale on the 28th and 29th of February, with 45mm in our gauge but up to 70mm in some areas just a couple of kilometres away. These were the areas which suffered “the flood” as water ran through cellars and into homes unexpectedly.
In fact the intensity of the rain was a surprise to everyone, with ‘showers’ forecast but not much more. We had scheduled picking of the Winery Block Grenache for the 28th and I woke at 5.30 that morning to the sound of light rain beginning to fall on the roof, which intensified as dawn approached.
The pickers arrived before 7.00am and I sat in the car with the gang boss for about 45 minutes by which time it had become obvious that the rain wasn’t going to stop (rather it had continued to increase in intensity) and we called the picking off, sending home about 30 willing workers. Suddenly and unexpectedly at this point, the new harvest seemed poised to slip into difficulty (memories of 2011 still fresh).
Fortunately that didn’t happen, with cool but fine, settled weather returning for the next two weeks and it was during this period that we picked all of the crop except the Cabernet at Langhorne Creek.
After waiting a further two weeks, we gathered the Cabernet in two picks on 30th March and 4th April and we were able to breathe a sigh of relief; the entire crop was safely in the vats!
We are very happy with the wines from 2012. They display lovely ripeness and purity of flavour, along with a freshness which is very appealing. They are high in alcohol (out of step with the current fashion!) but they carry their weight with ease and we expect them to drink well straight away but also be capable of maturing slowly in bottle for many years. We hope you will enjoy them.
“2012 – A good year and the ‘Cab’ is back!
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