The 2018 growing season had a reasonable start with adequate rainfall through winter and early spring. Healthy canopies were established across all sites and the dry and warm conditions of late January and February kept weeds and disease pressures to a low. February proved to be a very warm month which stalled ripening and it wasn’t until the relief of a mild March that the outlook for a great harvest looked imminent.
The late Indian summer enhanced the quality of late picked varieties such as Mataro, Grenache, Montepulciano and Cabernet. 2018 came off the back of two big vintages so it was no surprise this harvest was likely to be down on average with most crops down by 20-25%. The wines produced were very balanced, had ripe phenolics and display vibrant mid palate weight, a spectacular vintage for good structure and elegance.
The Tempranillo plantings are located on our Stone Well Vineyard. First planted in 1998, this wine is produced using clone D8V12. The north westerly facing aspect has moderately deep brown clay soils with underlying calcareous chalk. Tempranillo is an early ripening variety and usually the first to be harvested.
The winemaking and élevage [maturation] techniques encourage 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 basket pressed before primary fermentation has completed. The wine is racked off gross lees into seasoned French Hogsheads for 12 months prior to blending and bottling.