We love this time of year. Obviously spring and new life has a lot to do with it. As does the simple focus and influence of one site, one grape.
2019 was an incredibly dry warm year. We watched the vines close down for periods of time to preserve moisture and felt relieved when a two week cool spell arrived that freshened up the vines and resulted in another astonishing year for Strathbogie Ranges and in particular, Riesling.
Our RS (residual sugar) journey with riesling is now pretty well understood. We respond to the seasons and in cooler years we generally see higher acidity, resulting in final wines that carry more RS to temper and balance such acid. Contrasting this scenario is a year like 2019. The warm and dry season resulted in much lower acidity and finally a balancing RS of 3g/L.
Despite a very different season, it’s exciting to see just how strong the site expression remains. Watching these old vines weather the season and bear grapes that ripple with such site purity is an exhilarating experience. It really reminds me that our role as growers is to encourage these robust plants to adapt and thrive in their surroundings and to the season that’s thrown up, embracing the unique nuances of each season and framing them.
Throughout the 2019 season, Hannah and I worked through multiple scenarios with respect to the season and riesling in particular, so we were ready to adapt to the seasons quirks. Our decisions based on the various seasonal nuances led to a reduced volume of RS wines, but delightfully we now have a number of additional rieslings to be released under our EB range resulting from trying different approaches to see how best to capture site DNA and critically for me, the granite backdrop that so reflects Strathbogie.