Saturday, May 25, 2013

2013 Vintage Wrap

Well, vintage is done and dusted for another year with the wines safely tucked away in barrel.

Child labour

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…

Thursday, January 31, 2013

2011 Red Hill Chardonnay released

Here it is folks – the inaugural release of our Red Hill Chardonnay from the Mornington Peninsula.

From the cool 2011 vintage, the vineyard has performed admirably and we're pretty happy with the results. Read on…

Monday, October 1, 2012

2010 Gruyere Syrah released

2009 was, to use the Queen’s parlance, an annus horribilis. Scorching temperatures in late January followed by the devastating Black Saturday fires and smoke battered our dry-grown vineyard. In the end, I made the only call possible that I was just not going to be able to make a quality wine from this year.

2010 saw the breaking of the drought and the welcome return of a cooler and wetter year. A significant rain event in early March saw many scurrying to get fruit in to the winery, but with no botrytis evident in the vineyard and the mildews under control we decided to hang ours out in the hope of an extended cooler ripening period towards the end of March.

The decision paid dividends with grapes eventually being picked on March 23, some 2 weeks later than in 2008, showing excellent levels of physiological ripeness but with still restrained sugar levels. In short, perfect for the traditional winemaking methods I favour.

Read more about the wine here…

Meanwhile, my Red Hill chardonnay has been racked from barrel after 12 months on lees and given a light bentonite fining in preparation for bottling in the next few weeks. I’m pretty excited about the results so stay tuned for more on this wine soon…

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Walking Along, Singing a Song, Walking in a Pruning Wonderland…

Pruning time. Some people hate it, some think it mundane, others pay someone else to do it. 

I must admit, at times I have come to associate it with numb fingers and hypothermia

But just every now and again, there’s a day where you’re simply glad to be out amongst the tranquility of the vines.