Harvest approaches each year with great anticipation, excitement and the hope that mother nature will be kind, providing the raw material giving us the opportunity to produce wines of interest and quality. It’s an incredible thing, the creation of wine; from grapes to wine through the natural process of fermentation. Natural. Simplicity. At this time of year the winery is a little more relaxed with the actual harvesting of grapes behind us. It’s still fairly busy though with the pressing out of reds and running to barrel as well as the close monitoring of our natural ferment chardonnays, which it has to be said are looking exceptional!
When you look at the numbers it’s been an interesting season. Of course, it’s a lot more than numbers that will determine final quality but they do create a framework on which the wines are built. Both 2013 and 2014 will go down in history as great HB vintages. We can see this now the wines have evolved. Temperatures in the key ripening months of Jan, Feb and March were actually warmer in 2015 compared to 2013 and 2014 so that’s saying something. The preceding months of spring and early summer were slightly cooler than 2014 but warmer than 2013. As far as rainfall goes both January and February were incredibly dry being well below the long term average and March was slightly wetter. As this goes out April numbers are yet to be updated but rainfall in this month is likely to be higher than the long term average.
Another key factor for quality is yields. Lower yields increases concentration of flavour and generally gives the vine a better opportunity of getting the grapes to the ripeness level desired before the cool autumn weather takes hold. Yields in 2015 were lower than in 2013 and 2014.
So, what does all this mean? For us at Vidal Estate the climatic conditions of 2015 and yields combined with our vineyards and “knowhow” have created wines of quality. It’s too early to make ultimate judgment calls but at these early stages of the wine’s development the foundations look truly promising for great wines ahead.
As each season passes we seem to be intervening less and less in the winery, adding less, taking away less and generally allowing the wines to express the vineyards and the season. We are more entrenched in our classical approach then ever and feel comfortable with our minimalist/natural progression.
We have some time to go until the 2015 reds and whites are bottled but I would encourage you to look out for our 2013 Gimblett Gravels reds; Syrah and Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon as well as our 2014 Chardonnays which are all now available. 2013 Legacy Syrah, 2013 Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon and 2014 Legacy Chardonnay will all be released later this year and without question are some of the greatest wines released from our Estate.