We are delighted with the 2017 wines.
It was an unusual growing season, with wetter and cooler conditions during most of the crop development, leading to a late harvest. The spring was especially cool and wet. Harper went on school camp to the Adelaide Hills in September and the bus had to detour coming home due to the many flooded road crossings. He remembers seeing entire football grounds covered in flood waters!
The Langhorne Creek vineyards received a natural flood too, just as the buds were beginning to emerge. A deep drink at this time can be ideal if the weather turns dry but can lead to disaster if it stays wet, so we accepted it whilst being very aware that it could be a mixed blessing! Even our traditional family camping weekend in early October had to be cancelled for the first time in over 20 years because the tracks were impassable and the campground closed! It was unusually wet.
The summer warmed up as normal but the rainfall for the first 2 months of summer was still well above average, so things remained delicately poised to this point as we approached the critical ripening stage for the vines. Then from the start of February, just in time, the rains eased and held off throughout March and early April for harvest.
In fact March was unusually warm, which was just what we needed. The success of this vintage was due to the warm, dry weather which prevailed during these 6 weeks prior to picking. We were lucky. Of course we are also lucky to work with such good vineyards and with such committed growers (thank you BJ and the Borrett family) which greatly increases the chance of success!
We did have our difficulties in 2017 though. There is no Reserve Cabernet because the rains returned in mid-April before the Cabernet was ready to harvest and the fruit began to deteriorate, so we decided not to harvest the crop. Our Cabernet vineyards are very special and in our opinion can produce Cabernet wine ‘as good as it gets’.
But it can be a delicate balance with this late ripening variety between peak ripeness and the arrival of the winter break. It was a difficult decision not to produce a Reserve Cabernet but quality must always come first. The early finish to the season also meant that we couldn’t leave any grapes out to produce fortified wine.
Despite these difficulties we’re delighted with the 2017 Eclipse and Reserve Shiraz wines that have resulted, which ripened to their full potential before the season broke.
The Eclipse is full bodied and packed with dark cherry and herb/spice flavour, with a lovely round mouth feel. It is produced this year from 90% Grenache, with 6% Shiraz and 4% Graciano which are grown on our estate in McLaren Vale. This is a wine of real depth and weight yet it maintains a lovely balance and poise; a remarkable combination. We are very happy with this wine.
We’re also very happy with the Reserve Shiraz. It is produced this year from the Main Road block which sits only a few hundred metres from the 20 Rows block and stood up to the seasonal conditions even better. It displays complex blueberry, molasses, tea leaves and fresh earth aromas and possesses great richness and intensity (it’s particularly full bodied) with very good balance and a firm velvet tannin finish. It’s quite a mouthful of flavour but isn’t heavy or ponderous.
The 2017 Twelve Bells, produced with early consumption in mind, has also been a great success.
We hope you will enjoy these wines!
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