Conditions leading up to the 2015 harvest were variable with sporadic rain and hail events in December and early January. Verdelho was the first white variety picked on January 23 followed by Chardonnay on January 27. Both varieties produced excellent wines with very good structure and flavour. Semillon was abnormally slow to ripen and was affected by early February rains. Light delicate wines resulted but the quality was good. Shiraz was affected by several rain events before it ripened. Our Tallavera Vineyard blocks were picked in clean condition and produced pleasant light wines. Many Shiraz vineyards in the Valley including three of our contract blocks did not ripen and remained unpicked. The 2015 Hunter vintage was generally disappointing for Shiraz after the brilliant 2014 vintage.
Our high altitude Orange vineyard experienced excellent ripening conditions and produced some of our best wines from the 2015 vintage. Rains in early February, which looked like threatening the vintage eventually gave way to perfect ripening conditions in mid-February and March. Excellent parcels of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc have made wines of very high quality and our ‘Venus Block’ Chardonnay will be exceptional. Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Cabernet all ripened beautifully and produced wines of great flavour and balance. Several single vineyard red wines are likely to be bottled from this excellent vintage.
The hot conditions that caused problems in the Barossa and McLaren Vale in January and early February did not affect the Limestone Coast and by the time the ripening season commenced the weather conditions were relatively benign. The only downside to the vintage were some frosts in early November which reduced yields in Pinot Gris and Chardonnay as well as small patches of Merlot and Cabernet.
Ripening proceeded very slowly and all red varieties maintained very good acid levels right through until harvest and were picked with excellent chemical balance and beautiful fruit flavours. Our ‘8R’ Merlot and ‘Block 21A’ Cabernet Sauvignon parcels are showing exceptional early promise.
The last four vintages at Wrattonbully have been excellent and 2015 has continued the standard.
Coonawarra experienced similar weather conditions to Wrattonbully which led to a long slow ripening season. As at Wrattonbully these conditions led to the best chemical balance in the grapes for many years and resulted in fresh sweet lifted flavours in the fruit. Berry and bunch sizes were very small and have led to quite intense flavours in the wines.
Harvest commenced with Merlot in early April and the last of our Cabernet, single vineyard ‘Calcare’ Cabernet Sauvignon, was picked in mid-April.
Like Wrattonbully, the 2015 vintage at Coonawarra continues a run of exceptional vintages.
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