2017 Vintage Report from Bruce Tyrrell – Edition 2
Fri, January 27th 2017 / No Comment
On Friday, 20 January we picked Verdelho that night mostly at Broke. We had 17mm of rain here but there was less than 2mm at Broke. Both Saturday and Sunday were perfect days, mid to high 20s and 16 or 17 degrees at night and clear skies. Saturday night we finished picking all of the Verdelho, which is down about 10% overall to budget, but chemically and flavour wise about right where we wanted it. Sunday night we only picked a little bit of Chardonnay from John Tulloch, and sadly this will be the last grapes that we buy from John and Clemence Mary Tulloch. At 85 they have decided that it is time to retire, and so have sold the property where John has lived nearly all of his life and move into retirement in Singleton. John is one of the great viticulturist of the Valley, and one of the true fathers of mechanical harvesting. He would always say to me “you tell me which berries you don’t want in the bin and I will make sure they don’t go there”. We hope to continue to buy the grapes from the property but I will certainly miss working with the Tulloch’s over Vintage.
Saturday night we also picked the first Semillon of the Vintage from Pokolbin Hills, which was up 20% on budget, and it looks like the Semillons are going to have a lot of juice. We spent Sunday morning trying to find what to pick on Monday and Tuesday, but after the rain on Thursday night the sugars dropped, the acids dropped and the pHs remain the same, meaning that the berries had simply taken up the water. The soil is pretty much saturated at the moment so any more rain is simply going to run off.
We cancelled picking until Tuesday night and started then into the balance of the Chardonnay at Penfold Vale, and were going to start with Neil Stevens. It started to rain at Stevens just as he was turning the harvester on, and so we put him back to Thursday night. Wednesday we went across the road to the Short Flat and started to finish off all Chardonnay for Vat 47. We left the three acre block called ‘Andrews’ as it was not quite ready and picked it this morning. It needed the extra time as it had about a tonne an acre heavier crop. Thursday was the first big Semillon pick and with an hours overtime we were able to pick all of the Belford Semillon. Normally Belford is the last of the Semillon picked but it had received a lot less rain than in here. The juice out of the press is just fantastic – lime green, plenty of flavour and enough acid.
Apart from the end of Vat 47 picked this morning, we headed to Johnno’s at lunch time for an hour and a half to two hours picking Johnno’s Semillon, which looks like it is about spot on! It will be quiet during the day on Saturday with just the Gamay and a tonne of Pinot Noir to pick, but come Monday morning we will start Semillon in ernest and keep picking until it is finished. We have got five nights of machine harvesting of white grapes to go and so this time next week the white Vintage will be almost over.
With Australia Day yesterday I can’t help but make a comment. On Monday night I had an operation on my arm in a Newcastle hospital the surgeon was half-English half-Indian, the anaesthetist was Spanish, the theatre sister Vietnamese and the ward sister Scottish. What a wonderful country we live in where people with talented backgrounds from all over the world want to come and live and work here.
M Bruce Tyrrell AM