A hot and dry summer meant that harvest was several weeks earlier than the last two years. Picking of the different varieties and clones was also compressed into the space of a few weeks, meaning all hands on deck in the Red Hill vineyard, including my 9 year old daughter!
Thankfully, a stretch of cool weather in late March provided perfect picking conditions, with the fruit presenting in excellent nick. The chardonnay neatly went through the usual process of wild yeast fermentation in French oak. It is now embarked on its maturation sur lees with occasional stirring to help build the body and complexity that complements the grape’s primary fruit characters.
|Yes, my feet go in the wine|
Pinot noir fruit arrived at the winery in similarly excellent condition. The stems were browned and partly lignified and tasted subtly of cloves – perhaps eugenol from the break down of lignin. This prompted the inclusion of 40% whole bunches in the ferments – I’ll be intrigued to see how it looks in the finished wine. The cool fruit load ensured an even fermentation by wild yeasts ahead of pressing after 21-28 days on skins.
So, with the wines safely tucked away for the winter, I’m looking forward with a fair bit of excitement to how they are going to look when they are all grown up. And with somewhat less excitement to pruning time…