2016 has been phenomenal, despite the dry season our approach to sustainable wine grape growing has ensured this harvest was overflowing with great fruit quality. The season was challenging, a result of prolonged dry periods and a warm December but we had few days above 40oC and then a much needed rain event came late in January. This was the turning point of our vintage, as the exhausted vineyards inhaled the relief of 48mm of rain, the vines were now set, absorbing the light to bring on the flavours and textures to see way for another great harvest.
The Montepulciano vineyard is located on our Stonewell Estate. Planted in 2001, this was Australia’s first vineyard planted to this variety indigenous to Italy. Trained onto a single cordon wire, the canopies produced from the well-established bilateral cordons are managed using a VSP [verticle shoot positioning] trellising system. This variety is very fruitful and assists with growing intensly flavoured, yet balanced fruit. Bunch thinning is carried out post véraison. The brown clay soils have shallow underlying sedimentary bedrock. Montepulciano is a late ripening grape variety but despite the longer ripening period it has an exceptional ability to retain great acidity levels in warm growing conditions.
The hand-harvested fruit is destemmed to an open top fermenter. The must is inoculated and allowed to ferment between 22-25ºC until dry. The cap is managed by pumping over twice daily without splashing. Once primary fermentation has been completed the skins are retained and allowed to macerate for a further 15 days before being bag pressed and racked to new and seasoned French oak. The wine is bottled 12 months after harvest to ensure the style retains its vibrancy and primary fruit freshness.
Aromatic and lifted, the enticing aromas will keep you coming back for more. With notes of young used cherries, carnation, vanilla bean and white pepper. The palate is layered and textural, seductive and seamless; rich red fruits and ripe raspberry are interwoven with soft chalky tannins. Incredible structure and great length – it’s the perfect finish.