Vintage report 2011
Never have we had so much disease pressure in the vineyard as this vintage! It has been absolutely constant, and it’s required relentless attention to detail and scrutiny of our management practices most of all the spray program and canopy management.
We had an early outbreak of powdery mildew, which we responded swiftly to with our “shock and awe program” spraying almost weekly! Fortunately we’ve managed to keep that at bay! Downy mildew has just not let up either, all that’s required for an out-break is the conditions of 10, 10, 24.This translates to 10 mm of rain with the temperature remaining above 10 degrees within a 24 hour period and it’s guaranteed! We’ve had event after event the up side is of all the fungal problems it is the easiest to control.
We picked the sparkling base on the 12/3/2011 and it looked great. On the 29th of March we picked the Sauvignon Blanc and the fruit also came in very clean with great figures, there was only small patches of botrytis rot.Due to this and the late out break of powdery mildew on the leaves in the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blocks (doesn’t affect the fruit at this stage as the sugar in the grapes prevent the fungus from growing) it prompted us to move as soon as practical onto picking the Chardonnay’ we did this on Saturday the 2/4/2011, this is very late for us! It’s not since vintage 2000 that we were running to this timetable. So it’s not un heard of to be starting vintage this late but not what we have grown use to in the last decade. Again the figures although lower in sugar levels were very good and in balance and most importantly the fruit tasted ripe! There was quite a lot of sorting to do and we had two people working on the sorting table all day weeding out any remnants of powdery mildew!
On the 17/4/2011 we picked the Pinot noir, it was very much the case of holding our nerve a bit here as we were determined not to panic and pick to soon but to wait for the flavors to improve, this is all possible if there is a canopy to support the fruit and you do get some sunshine and the figures stay in balance…. acid and pH and sugars! And of course it all doesn’t just fall to bits on you…. bunch rot, berries shriveled. So there we were telling ourselves to “hold”, “hold”! It was a good decision and we think we’ve nailed it?
Now last but not least we picked the merlot and cabernet Sauvignon on the 25/4/2011 and it also came in with very good figures… No estate wines needed any adjustments this year, that doesn’t happen very often!
We have for the first time decided to blend the two Bordeaux varieties (Cabernet/Merlot) this year and are presently deciding on what we’ll call the blend…. perhaps Blend Number 1. Stay tuned!
All the wines are safely in barrel…. time to relax?
Cheers Pat and Kirsten
Vintage rating 5/10