Vintage 2013 conditions

Backpackers in the Hills of Beechworth
 If it wasn't raining this morning, we would be in the middle of our last day's picking.  So at last I have a chance to revue the vintage at an early stage.

The season started cool, with plenty of winter rain to soak up the soil.  Early Spring seemed gentle and budburst was slightly later: the vines wanted a bit more warmth to get going.  But eventually October and November warmed up: the late start was a thing of distant memory as vine growth caught up that time and more.  Up until Christmas, the season was perfect for vine growth: warm, low humidity weather; the soils were topped up with 3 good downpours a month or 6 weeks apart.  All set for a good vintage, but January and February have so much impact on the season I hold off on the predictions.

Then it got hot.  Effectively, from Christmas until mid March it was very, very hot and very dry.  The boxing day/new year week saw the most dramatic weather: hot dry winds, low humidity and the hottest weather of the season.  The vines stressed and very slowly recovered.
Shrivelled durif

This photo (left)  is Durif.  According to Richard Smart, it is a variety that we should be planting in greater quantity because it handles our droughty and hot conditions better.  As you can see, the bunches on our durif dessicated after 2 days of hot windy weather.  When I asked some friends at Rutherglen their response was emphatic: "That's Bulls..t.  Durif's the first one to go [when the weather becomes difficult]."


But I am not a winging farmer: the hot weather gave us shiraz with such small grapes that the wine quality will be very very good.  The flavours and aromas of the shiraz are all in the dark end of the spectrum: coffee, chocolate and leather, and the colour is excellent.  I am being presumptive here, but I guess this will be a top vintage for shiraz and other full bodied reds in the district.
An Ageing Frog who loves wine

Right now we are waiting on the late ripening varieties: Nebbiolo in our case: the tannins and ripeness are there,we are just waiting in this hot year for all the measurements to balance up: tannin. sugar, flavour, vine maturity.
Tiny little shiraz grapes:  full of flavour, tannin and concentration.


Popular Posts