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 Tempranillo plantings are located on our Gnadenfrei and Stonewell Vineyards. First planted in 1998, this wine is produced using two clones; D8V12 and Requiena. The vineyard aspects are quite different and so too is the harvest dates for each site. The soils of Gnadenfrei are shallow weathered brown clay with pink quartzite. Stonewell has deeper soils of red/brown clay overlaying silty orange clay and weathered rock.
The winemaking and élevage [maturation] was encouraged to express a medium bodied red wine. The determination of harvest is crucial, with a rapid depletion of natural acidity the fruit must be picked as early as possible whilst ensuring tannins have ripened and adequate flavours have accumulated. The hand harvested fruit is destemmed and crushed via a chiller and allowed to cold soak for 3 days before yeast inoculation. Following a short ferment on skins the wine is pressed off before primary fermentation has completed. The wine is racked off gross lees into seasoned American Hogsheads for 12-15 months prior to bottling.
The 2016 Tempranillo leads with alluring and evolving aromas. Opening with dark cherry, raspberry liquorice and crushed autumn leaves the aromas lead to hints of tobacco leaf, pepper and coffee bean. Dark fruits and savoury tones are prominent on the palate. This wine is medium bodied, persistent and has dusty drying tannins.