2019 provided moderately warm but very dry growing conditions in Wrattonbully, perfect for ripening the classic red varieties and Sauvignon Blanc in our Crayères vineyard. 2019 has the potential to be a sublime vintage for both white and red varieties.
A warmer than average growing season was tempered by higher than average rainfall in Spring and early Summer in the Piccadilly Valley. Yields are very low (similar to 2014), and quality for sparkling base is superb in 2019. We did not make any table Pinot Noir from Piccadilly Valley this year.
2019 is an exciting vintage and shows the unique potential of cool climate viticulture in South Australia. We should expect to see some world class sparkling wines from Piccadilly Valley, and some classic examples of South Australian reds from Crayères Vineyard. The Crayères Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc also promises to be a world class white wine.
VINEYARD REPORTS – WRATTONBULLY
2019 was a moderately warm vintage (the ninth warmest since 1968). It was another dry vintage, close to 2016 in terms of average rainfall during the growing season. Good rainfall in December brought welcome relief, but did interfere with flowering and fruit set in the Cabernet Sauvignon, reducing yields. Temperatures post véraison (February and March) were on average, i.e. perfect for the varieties grown in the Crayères Vineyard.
Sauvignon Blanc was hand-picked at perfect flavour ripeness on 4th, 5th and 6th of March. Severe bunch thinning kept yields low, concentrating flavour. For the Crayères vineyard cuvée, the fruit was chilled to 3°C for whole bunch pressing, and fermented in demi-muids. For the Down to Earth cuvée, part of the fruit was whole bunch pressed and fermented in large oak foudres, with the balance of the fruit being crushed, destemmed, and then fermented as cold as possibly in stainless steel. This will be our best vintage yet for Sauvignon Blanc.
Shiraz was hand-picked in perfect condition on the 19th and 20th of March 2019, with superb flavours and good yields. Fruit was sorted to exclude any shrivelled bunches. The Shiraz was fermented in a potter fermenter with header boards keeping the cap submerged. The fruit was cold macerated prior to fermentation, and macerated further post ferment at has now been pressed off skins and transferred to tank for malolactic fermentation and will be transferred to oak barrels after the end of malolactic fermentation. This will be a superb Shiraz.
Cabernet Franc came off one week after the Shiraz, on the 26th of March and was in good supply at 8 tonnes per hectare. The Cabernet Franc was all fermented in a potter fermenter under a header board to keep the cap submerged. We pressed off skins after a month of cold maceration, fermentation and post fermentation maceration. It is now in finishing malolactic in tank, and will be racked to oak at the end of malolactic fermentation.
Cabernet Sauvignon was hand-picked on the 3rd and 4th of April based on flavour ripeness with perfect sugar concentration of 13.5 Bé. The yields were very low at just over 3 tonnes per hectare, after a thorough sorting of any shrivelled bunches. The must was fermented in a potter fermenter with boards to keep the cap submerged. The wine was pressed off skins after a month of maceration and fermentation, and is now going
through malolactic fermentation in tank. It will be transferred to oak after the end of the malolactic fermentation.
Comparisons with the previous 4 vintages in Wrattonbully
Growing season (October to April) heat summation – base 10°C days
|Wrattonbully (Joeville), CliMate data||1466||1881
% of average rainfall during growing season
|Wrattonbully (Joeville), CliMate data||50.6%||150%||87.7%||69.5%|
Post-Véraison (February and March) heat summations – base 10°C days
|Wrattonbully (Joeville), CliMate data||523||580||579||568||526|
The climate was actually similar to the cooler 2017 in our vineyard in Wrattonbully, but with rainfall between the very dry 2016 vintage and the dry 2018 vintage. Temperatures post véraison (February and March) were on average, i.e, perfect for the varieties grown in the Crayères Vineyard. These perfect climatic conditions led to a superb vintage for all varieties in all our vineyards.
Harvest date per variety in the Crayères Vineyard for the last 7 years
|Sauvignon Blanc||Shiraz||Cabernet Franc||Cabernet Sauvignon|
|2013||26 February||7 March||20 March||27 March|
|2014||13 March||3 April||8 April||8 April|
|2015||19 February||17 March||25 March||29 March|
|2016||26 February||16 March||22 March||23 March|
|2017||23 March||10 April||11 April||19 April|
|2018||27 February||19 March||20 March||26 March|
|2019||5 March||19 March||26 March||4 April|
VINEYARD REPORTS – PICCADILLY VALLEY
Our three vineyards in Piccadilly Valley produced some very low yields of superb sparkling base Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit, and some quality Trousseau Noir, Cabernet Franc, Mondeuse and Merlot in 2019. We did not make any table Pinot Noir from Piccadilly Valley this year.
Chardonnay for our Daosa Blanc de Blancs base was picked by hand on the 6th, 7thand 8thof March. Yields were very low (less than 3 tonnes/ ha), and quality was absolutely stunning with low baumè, good acidity and great balance of flavours. The wine is now going through malolactic in old French oak demi-muids.
2019 was the fourth vintage of the Summertown vineyard under our care. The Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Summertown were hand harvested on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of March, this year all the fruit will be used for sparkling base as the quality was extraordinary with good flavours, low sugars and high acid levels.
As we do every vintage, we left two small blocks of Pinot Noir to ripen further. It was a pivotal realisation that after two weeks ripening under good sunshine and warm temperatures, the sugars were not increasing, the acidities not lowering, but the flavours were stabilising at sparkling production grade. The Piccadilly Valley is perfect for sparkling wine production indeed! We therefore picked this fruit for sparkling on the 17th of March, and whole bunch pressed to barrel for fermentation. It is currently going through malolactic fermentation in barrels.
On the 5th of April, we handpicked our Merlot from Summertown. It was co-fermented with the Heysen Trousseau, Mondeuse and Cabernet Franc in one-tonne open-top fermenters, and is currently going through malolactic in tank.
2019 was the second vintage of the Heysen vineyard under our care.
The 777 Pinot Noir on the North-facing part of the vineyard was harvested early on the 26th of February, and the Pinot Noir MV6 clone was harvested on the 1st and 2nd of March, both blocks destined for sparkling wine. The fruit is now blended with the Summertown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to make our Natural Reserve blend.
The East facing Pinot Noir Pommard and 667 clones were harvested respectively on the 6th and 17th of March, also for sparkling, they were whole bunch pressed and blended with the rest of the sparkling wine fruit for DAOSA Natural Reserve.
The East facing Trousseau Noir, Mondeuse and Cabernet Franc were hand harvested on the 5th of April. They were co-fermented with Summertown Merlot.