2019 vintage and wine notes

The 2019 was the most challenging of our recent seasons, with dry hot conditions complicated by a wet spring at flowering. Nonetheless we are very happy with the wines emerging from the winery.

Our collection of estate grown wines expanded to the full range of varieties grown in the vineyard together with our first blend: “LSR” or Lone Star Red – a 60/40 mix of Pinot Noir & Syrah.

This season we picked about 9.5 tonnes across five varieties and have made:

  • Pinot Noir from both yellow duplex and red volcanic clay soils;
  • Chardonnay from yellow duplex clay, north facing slope;
  • Sauvignon Blanc from vines grown on our west sloping block in yellow duplex soils;
  • Pinot Gris from our red volcanic clay soils on a north facing slope; and
  • Syrah also grown on yellow duplex clay at our warmest site managed to low yields to help promote ripening before autumn coolness slows things down.

Additional new oak was purchased this season. This enabled a portion of pinot noir from both soil types to mature in Taransaud new oak barriques.

Season conditions:

Again like 2018, the season got off to a slow start with budburst first seen in early October. However, rainfall throughout winter and into early spring was well below average creating alerts for the fire season and ground water availability. Ironically an intense period of moist and cool conditions in November coincided with our fruit set period (“flowering”), having consequences for bunch weights and hence yield later in the season.

The dry conditions returned throughout the summer right up to harvest. Our irrigation system was under pressure the entire time and we pumped the greatest volume of water into the vineyard in our history (yes, more than in 2009!). Ripening made slow progress, despite the lighter yields and this meant tannins progressed ahead of sugars (which is unusual), until in late February, Baumé advanced with a rush and the experience of 2016 was suddenly being replicated.

We completed harvest across the entire vineyard (except the Syrah) in a record 6 days. All hand picking operations and undertaken simultaneously in two blocks on several days to get the grapes off. Pressure in the wineries was intense with processing capacity at a premium; however, everyone and the wines survived in tact and it was some relief to see the back of vintage with the Syrah on March 21.

Flavours in the winery were clean and fresh indicating good acidity while juice colour in the reds were more intense than our previous two vintages.

Harvest overall was to almost exactly the same time line as 2018, while the Syrah was picked about three weeks earlier.