We finally got to try our wine yesterday (4th April). It has been a long trip, we bought the land back in 2000. Nine years and many dollars later we took the first sip with some trepidation. We were very worried that it would have all the qualities of aged battery acid. The wine maker (Matt from Wandin Valley Estate - http://www.wandinvalley.com.au/) had descriped our wine as approachable. This has a fairly wide range of meaning and could have described a weedy, thin and insipid individual or a happy, fun to be around, party animal.
I would call it damn drinkable - which is a huge relief. It is a fairly light style made totaly from Shiraz. The style is due to all the rain just prior to harvest and will probably be representative of most 2009 Hunter reds. The colour is great, a deep purple, almost majestic to my mind. Extraction was good and we filled all six of our oak barriques. Following primary fermentation (where the sugar gets converted to alchohol) in open fermenters, the resulting must was pressed and pumped off into the barriques where they underwent malolactic fermentation (MLF). Unlike the primary ferment which is performed by yeast, MLF is due to lactic acid bacteria, which eat malic acid for energy, and convert it to lactic acid. This should produce a fuller more rounded mouth feel.
The barrels will now be racked and topped up every few months. We will have a taste just prior to every topping up. You need to top up due to evaporation of water from the wine. This helps concentrate the flavour and hopefully we will get some oak flavours extracted from the barrels as the wine matures. This will add complexity to the final wine. Towards the end of barrel maturation we may add some South Australian Shiraz (up to 5%) to also add complexity. This is said to help fill out the middle palate.
BTW - My latest story "Blood" is up at AntiSF (http://www.antisf.com.au/the-stories/blood-by-david-such)