Sunday, 17 January 2010

Kintarla - 2010 Vintage

It is an exciting time in the vineyard as the 2010 harvest approaches. We have just finished the label design which was great fun. The following are the tasting notes for our 2009 Shiraz, which are currently in French oak barrels and will be bottled in March:

The wine is crimson red in colour with a vibrant purple hue. This is an elegant Shiraz offering aromas of ripe plum, cherry, spice, and toasty oak. The complex palate is rich and full, offering great flavour intensity, balance, and length. This well structured wine should mature gracefully over the next 5 years”

We are hoping to get a Shiraz and Verdelho crop this year. Both took a hammering during the hail storms in December but fingers crossed. The Semillion didn't make it - maybe next year!

The following are some notes from our vineyard consultant on the December conditions and there effects on the grapes.

The weather features that affected the vineyard this month were:

Ø After a very warm November, December was also a degree warmer than the average daily temperature based on the 30-year average, and we had 15 days over 30C, and quite a few close to 40C. These hot days were interspersed with very mild days.

Ø The first 3 weeks of December were very dry and we were beginning to run low on water levels stored in dams and in the soil. Christmas time heralded the beginning of the cyclone-influenced cycle we are seeing now… warm dry days followed by humid, showery milder periods lasting 7 to 10 days.

Ø Humidity stayed low during the first half of the month but once the rain started on Boxing Day it was very high, and has remained that way well into January.

The results of these conditions were:

- Many vines kept growing and new disease infections appeared. Downy mildew pressure returned in the last week of the month, and spraying was problematic with the regular showery, and often windy, conditions. Once downy mildew infection became established, it has been very difficult to totally eradicate, although in most vineyards it is now under control.

The rain at the end of the month has come at a bad time in terms of coinciding with the vine stage of berry swelling and veraison. In any tight-bunch varieties (like Semillon and chardonnay) this has led to berries splitting. With the humidity levels as they are Botrytis was the inevitable result. This has red berries (eg in shiraz) rapidly expanded , the hail scars became loci for splitting, exposing seeds and flesh to Botrytis spores, ubiquitous to our Hunter environment.

It is tough being a farmer...

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