James spent yesterday going over all our 2017 and 2018 wines that are currently in barrel - checking them all carefully, topping barrels and adding sulphur where necessary to keep them in tip top condition. This is his traditional pre-vintage check, before everything gets a bit crazy as we bring in the 2019 fruit and concentrate on that for a little while.
2017 was a bigger, wetter year here in the Barossa, and the wines look rich and flavourful. The Shiraz is full bodied, with long length, richness and a beautiful chocolate undertone.
The Cabernet Sauvignon is beautifully varietal in this cooler, wetter year - showing classic herbacious, green capsicum characteristics.
We definitely have less Grenache and Mataro in 2017; the Mataro particularly looks great, with bright, lifted fruit and a lovely long length.. We haven’t made final blending decisions with these wines yet, so we’re not sure what configuration of wines we’ll end up with. Stay tuned!
2018 was a magic vintage - everything you wanted to see, with great conditions all lined up one after the other.
James described the wines as being solid across the board - a great year for all the wines.
The Grenache was a highlight for him, although there are only two barrels, so we’ll have to make some hard decisions about where this ends up.
The Shiraz was bright and elevated with a gorgeous nose and soft, ripe fruit on the palate - delicious!
James described the wines generally as being rich, full bodied and with great length.
We’re really excited to see these wines as they continue to develop in barrel for another year or so.
A few other notes - we rotate our barrels to 2pm, so that the bung sits slightly off centre - just enough to make sure it’s kept wet. This creates a vacuum in the barrel (you can hear the tell-tale sucking noise as you release the bung the next time you look at the wine) which means the barrels can sit undisturbed for longer periods of time. The less often you have to test, top up or disturb the wine, the less sulphur you need to add over the life of the wine.
And finally, we only use old barrels to age our wines because we don’t want oak to be an overpowering influence - we really want the beautiful, soft fruit to be the primary element you can see in the wines.
So there’s a little vintage update for you. We’re getting ready for picking and looking forward to getting the 2019 crop off and into the winery. Stay tuned for more updates!