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.
This Grenache vineyard was planted on our Stone Well property in 2009. Trained onto a single cordon wire, the vertical growth habit produces canopies that help shelter the fruit from the intense sun allowing enough dappled light to assist colour and flavor accumulation. The North Westerly facing aspect has moderately deep brown clay soils with underlying calcareous chalk. The late ripening vineyard is well suited to these soils retaining fresh canopies by harvest echoed by the balanced acid and fresh flavours under warm growing conditions.
The hand-harvested fruit was partially destemmed to an open top fermenter, with 15% of the fruit retained as whole-bunch. The fruit was immediately inoculated and gentle pump overs commenced the following day without splashing and the occasional pigeage. After 4 days the ferment was foot stomped and allowed to continue fermentation for a further 4 days. Once dry the ferment was bag pressed, racked to seasoned French hogsheads and bottled after only 12 months to ensure the style retains its vibrancy and fruit freshness.