Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vale Cru - April 15th

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2009 Pinot Noir - New Release!

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This is one of our most exciting releases. Pinot noir, one of the most difficult wines to make well, is a darling among many wine lovers, most of whom know the drama behind the scenes that goes into its creation.
AndrĂ© Tchelistcheff declared that "God made Cabernet Sauvignon whereas the devil made Pinot noir."   The reason for this is it much less tolerant of hard, windy, hot and dry, harsh vineyard conditions than the likes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or Grenache. It also has thin skins which makes it prone to disease in wet years. Therefore it likes neither wet, or hot conditons. Pinot needs it just right.
In the bottle Pinot can change from bench reserve to stalwart center-half forward without warning (and similar lose form, vice versa), and at its best is exalted as one of the greatest of all wines.
Ours is out now!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

McLaren Vale Vintage Report - Part 3


Harvest weather conditions, with cool nights but warm days, have been ideal for grape development. In response to this vineyards have typically developed 2 weeks earlier than normal. The 2012 vintage has been one of the most condensed seen in McLaren Vale with crushing expected to be completed by the 25th March compared with April in 2011. Indeed some wineries have already finished crushing for the year and are working on pressing out their wine. At this early stage the wine quality is looking very promising with the reds having excellent colour and flavour.

Above - Cabernet Sauvignon being machine harvested at Paxton Vineyard’s Jones Block.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

McLaren Vale Vintage Report - Part 2.

Around the district grape harvesting is continuing at pace. Shiraz from Blewitt Springs and Clarendon, plus Cabernet Sauvignon is being crushed this week. Mourvèdre from the Sellicks Foothill is also ripe. The trend of low vineyard yields producing fantastic quality juice in the winery is continuing. Expectations are high that McLaren Vale will produce another classic vintage.
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The cloud streaked view from Samuel's Gorge.
“Harvest has been perfectly timed, with cool weather conditions for maturing grapes,” says Bradley Cameron, who has spent the harvest driving tractor pick up in his family’s vineyards. “Red grapes have been looking really dark in the picking bins. That is always a good sign.”
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Grapes at the Patritti Wines crusher.
The vintage has not been without one dramatic turn. The McLaren Vale region received its average seasonal rainfall, all on one day. Moist air drawn down from the north west of Australia saw 60mm of rain recorded on the last day of summer.  The rain event on Wednesday the 29th of February put nerves on edge but miraculously the teeming skies only caused a minor to pause in picking. Fortunately the district’s famous winds picked up after the rain and quickly dried vineyards out.
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The creek at Whites Valley (near Willunga) running during the downpour.
Once the puddles had dispersed tractors returned to work and wineries were able to restart picking within 48 hours. Bunches on the vine did not split and minimal late season disease has been seen as a consequence.
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A good hay harvest is a good omen for a successful grape vintage.
It is an honest assessment to label this a very good vintage. It could even be remembered as a great vintage if cool and dry weather continues through March allowing full flavour development in Grenache and other late season varieties. While the forecasts remain dry, optimism is high that Vineyard 2012 will produce wines the community is proud of.