“Although it sounds cliché, vintage 2015 in the Murray Darling has been a vintage like no other!” Liz Marwood – Winemaker
Usually susceptible to long spells of hot weather, this year the ripening period in Murray Darling has been a lot cooler resulting in a longer ripening period allowing the fruit to develop intense varietal characteristics across a range of spectrums. Vintage started approximately 2 weeks later than usual due to the cooler weather. A short burst of hot weather towards the end of January did however speed things along. Several white and red varieties ripened simultaneously leading to compressed vintage.
This has produced a range of aromas and flavours from grassy, citrus and mineral notes to tropical bursts in the white varietals, through to spice and herb characters and ripe plum and dark berry in the red varieties.
Large diurnal temperature ranges (relatively speaking for this region) have led to the fruit producing high natural acids as well as sugars resulting in well balanced wines and a lower requirement for acid additions in the winery.
The larger than normal temperature ranges have also contributed to intense colour in the red wines. Although in their early stages, reds across all varieties – shiraz, merlot, cabernet, petit verdot and pinot noir; are showing exceptional depth of colour.
A lot of time has been spent in the vineyard this year with both winemakers and viticulture representatives grading particular vineyards and identifying certain blocks for exceptional quality and distinct or interesting character. This year we have gone one step further in keeping wine made from these blocks separate.
We have also been experimenting with different yeast strains and malo-lactic bacteria as well as varying solids levels in the white ferments with the aim of intensifying varietal character and building texture thus mitigating the need for un-necessary additives.
Early indications are that fermenting white varieties on higher (approximately 10%) solids creates a wine with a full mid palate and excellent texture whilst maintaining a linear palate structure and fresh, crisp acid finish within the time constraints afforded in a commercial winery.
Secondary malolactic fermentation on select portions of Chardonnay as well as the reds is now underway and progressing well. We have also started looking at preliminary blending options and are well on our way to having some finished 2015 wines.
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