The 2019 vintage was the most challenging of our recent seasons. Hot, dry conditions were complicated by a wet spring at flowering. Nonetheless we are very happy with the wines
Our collection of estate grown wines expanded to cover all varieties grown in the vineyard. We also made our first blend: “LSR” or Lone Star Red – a 60/40 mix of Pinot Noir & Syrah.
This season we picked about 9.5 tonnes across five varieties and have made:
- Pinot Noir from both yellow duplex and red volcanic clay soils;
- Chardonnay from yellow duplex clay, north facing slope;
- Sauvignon Blanc from vines grown on our west sloping block in yellow duplex soils;
- Pinot Gris from our red volcanic clay soils on a north facing slope; and
- Syrah also grown on yellow duplex clay at our warmest site managed to low yields to help promote ripening before autumn coolness slows things down.
Additional new oak was purchased this season. This enabled a portion of pinot noir from both soil types to mature in Taransaud new oak barriques.
Again like 2018, the 2019 vintage got off to a slow start. Bud burst was first seen in early October. However, rainfall throughout winter and into early spring had been well below average. This meant we entered summer with little or no ground water, starting to irrigates almost straight away. Ironically an intense period of moist and cool conditions in November coincided with our fruit set period (“flowering”), having consequences for bunch weights and hence yield later in the season.
The dry conditions returned throughout the summer right up to harvest. Our irrigation system was under pressure the entire time. As a result we pumped the greatest volume of water into the vineyard in our history (yes, more than in 2009!). Ripening made slow progress, meaning tannins progressed ahead of sugars (which is unusual). Then in late February, Baumé advanced with a rush and the experience of 2016 was suddenly replicated.
We completed the harvest across the entire vineyard (except the Syrah) in a record 6 days. All hand picking operations and undertaken simultaneously in two blocks on several days to get the grapes off. Pressure in the wineries was intense with processing capacity at a premium; however, everyone and the wines survived in tact and it was some relief to see the back of 2019 vintage with the Syrah on March 21.
Flavours in the winery were clean and fresh indicating good acidity while juice colour in the reds were more intense than our previous two vintages.
Harvest overall was to almost exactly the same time line as 2018, while the Syrah was picked about three weeks earlier.