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 Graciano vineyard is located on our Stonewell Estate. Planted in 2002, it is an ideal site for this premium Spanish grape variety. The perched vineyard is often exposed to persistent winds that help maintain a healthy dry canopy that has little to no disease pressures. The brown clay soils have shallow underlying sedimentary bedrock. Graciano is a late ripening grape variety but despite the longer ripening period it has an exceptional ability to retain remarkable natural acidity.
The hand-harvested fruit is destemmed to an open top fermenter. The must is inoculated and allowed to ferment between 22-25oC until dry before pressing. Its cap is managed by pumping over twice daily without splashing. Barrel élevage is undertaken with seasoned French oak casks, a mix of hogsheads and pungeons. The wine is bottled 12 months after harvest to ensure the style retains its vibrancy and primary fruit freshness.