Our winter is over and the vineyard looks magnificent. We’ve just come through a week of solid rain during which we received 120 mm - enough for the time being!
We usually have several mid-winter frosts, but there were only one or two this year. Temperatures overall, though, were lower than we can recall for many seasons, and there was not much rain.
Budburst was a couple of weeks earlier than last year, in early October, and as far as we can tell, we’re in step with the lower Yarra Valley, which is also unusual.
The tiny grape bunches that emerge as a shoot develops immediately tell us what our fruit density will be, and whether the developed bunches will be heavy or light. We’re delighted with the outlook for this season - there is a good bunch load, and everything looks full and healthy. We’re predicting that vintage should be one of the best on record although that’s a bit like picking the winner of the Melbourne Cup in June!
What we also find is that the vines synchronise with other kinds of fruiting. We’ve got a heavy crop of cherries, mandarins, apples and peaches, and our first decent crop of Kiwi fruit in five years. So, there was something about the winter that’s got everything up and going.
After a constant battle against disease last year (that many a vineyard lost), we were especially careful with lime sulphur and winter oil applications, and the result so far is promising. We’ll always have to be careful because of our relatively high rainfall and humidity, but maybe we’re figuring it out at last. We’ve also paid more attention to foliar applications of nutrients and trace elements this year.
The wines in the cellar are doing very well. Our 2018 Pinot and Cabernet in particular are looking outstanding. The Pinot will be bottled in mid-February, with the Cabernet coming along a bit later.
We’ve launched a range of new French wines, including:
· Domaine Besson Petit Chablis 2015: a zesty, generous and complex Chardonnay from an outstanding vintage.
· Domaine Combe Juliere Cotes du Rhone 2013: a Grenache/Syrah blend from the Northern Rhone with deep colour, medium weight and complex berry/fruit/spice flavours.
· Domaine Pelaquie Cotes du Rhone “Laudun” 2015: a Grenache, Syrah/Mourvedre from the Southern Rhone showing complex cherry/violet/rose/truffle characters.
These are all modestly-priced and great value.
We also have another Victorian wine in our portfolio: a South Gippsland 100% Pinot Noir Rosé with pale salmon Provencal colour, a soft lifted varietal nose, and fine texture and mouthfeel.
We thank you all for your support since our 1 July launch, and we wish you and your families a most peaceful and happy Christmas season and a brilliant 2019.
John, Peter, Geoff, Donna, Heather and Lorraine