Every vintage leaves its mark. Recent vintages such as 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013 were stressful due to volumes of fruit coming in at a rate of knots. 2014 will be remembered as the year that barely got out of second gear.
Vintage was quick to start with warm conditions and low yields followed by a much slower cooler period. This made picking less compressed and with less fruit all round, the cellar was hardly overflowing with wine. Overall yields were down by as much as 75% and on average fruit weights per acre were down 40%.
Having said that, I think we are already seeing the benefits of a more relaxed vintage. We appear to have made better decisions with regards to each parcel and its own peculiar quirks. And most importantly we have been able to move our vintage staff from the vineyard picking our best parcels with precision, to the cellar, where we were able to indulge the fruit in much more gentle handling with foot-stomping, hand de-stemming and hand plunging all completed with the greatest of care. This was all aided by the fact that we had a crack team who slipped into the vineyards and cellar with minimal disturbance.
Upper Yarra pinot in particular this vintage is scintillating. Likewise, our still fermenting Rieslings look to have much in common with our Strathbogie wines of 2008 and 2012.
We are now tucking wines away for winter and refocussing on getting compost teas and some soil preparations applied in the vineyards as well as seeding various grasses into the vineyard mid-rows.
We are also now bottling up the last couple of EB wines which we will be launching exclusively for mailing list members this month.
Hopefully we might see or hear from you when these wines come out. If you are visiting the Yarra or Melbourne in the coming months, please come out and say hi. Our coffee machine is always on and we might even have a few bottles open.
MAC. AUSTIN AND THE TEAM.