2016 Tyrrell’s Vintage Report – Edition 1…from Bruce Tyrrell
Mon, January 25th 2016 / No Comment
“Here we go again”……in December 2014, we were talking about sending the cattle out with a voucher at lunch time to buy a meal at the local shop because it was so dry. This year, it is hard to find the cattle for the height of the green grass.
2015 was a high rainfall year; almost a third above our long term average…..so, the vines have undergone no stress at all and we have come into the home straight with plenty of foliage. Like everyone, we believed we were going to have a hot, dry summer and so left plenty of foliage on, particularly the western side of the vines for protection against sunburn. The hot, dry period hasn’t really started yet. Since the beginning of December, we have had about 450mls of rain, which is more than half our normal average for a year. Most of this has fallen in heavy storms and we have had the protracted periods of drizzly weather that wiped us out in 2008 and 2012.
We started picking on the 14th January with Chardonnay for Blanc de Blanc Sparkling and then yesterday we picked Chardonnay from NVC and the Road Block on the Short Flat, which should give us the first 700 odd dozen Vat 47. With the rain that has been about, the sugars have not been quite as high but the acid and pH’s are in good balance, and the flavours are starting to come along nicely. Last night we started picking Verdelho at Fordwich and despite the hour’s break with some rain, they were able to keep picking for most of the night. Today, we picked the 4 & 8 Acres Pinot Noir and if we left it until Monday, we would have lost it. We continue with Verdelho tonight and will hopefully have it all finished in the early hours on Sunday morning…weather gods permitting. We will return to the Short Flat tomorrow to continue to pick Vat 47. Looks like the Chardonnay this year is all going to be between 12.5 – 13% alcohol, which suits our style.
As hard as we will try to plan this Vintage, it will be one where the circumstances change every day. The fear for us all is that we will continue to get rain over the next two weeks and although most of the white will be still okay, there will be huge pressure on the quality of red. Despite all the rain, the fruit is in much better condition than it was this time last year. The benefits of a religious spray program are there to be seen. If it fines up and we get the odd flying storm, it is going to be a good Vintage. 2016 will be a year, I think, where there will be some great wines made and a few bloody awful ones, which we will know in about five weeks. The plan next week is to continue until we pick all the Chardonnay and then go to our Semillon. Neil Stevens will start picking Semillon, I reckon, Monday or Wednesday. The crop so far, looks to be down on last year by maybe 10%.