2017 Vintage Report from Bruce Tyrrell – Edition 3
Fri, February 3rd 2017 / No Comment
Another week down and whites are almost finished, with the week being concentrated on Semillon.
Last Friday morning we finished all of the top Chardonnay, and again we have not got really high sugars but plenty of flavour and good acid. There are only some small lots of Chardonnay left to pick, and the Chardonnay crop is going to be about spot on what we expected. We had a reasonably quiet weekend that consisted mostly of Stevens Semillon and the two tonnes of Gamay, which is just over 12.5 alcohol, really juicy flavours and great acid. We will probably try and get the gas out of it straight after Vintage, and maybe bottle it in time for the Hunter Valley Wine Show in August.
The worry for this week was the temperature on Monday and Tuesday as we were looking at 40 degrees plus by midday on both days. It was not a decision of when to pick but only what order to pick the vineyards in as they were all pretty much ready to go. I wanted to pick HVD Signpost Block (the old vines planted in 1908) in one day but the heat was simply too much for the pickers and so we ran into the second day. Tuesday was probably the worst day of the year, we hit about 42 degrees which was probably more like 46 or 47 up the rows in the vineyard. I had hoped to get into the Short Flat Tuesday afternoon but by 11.30am we had to abandon picking, with HVD just finished.
Wednesday morning back in here to pick the Semillon on the Short Flat and to get Vat 1 secure for this Vintage. Wednesday was a lot cooler and quite pleasant picking conditions, and the crew picked 32 tonnes for the day which is the most we have done in a single shift for a long time. Had to come back this morning to finish. The chemistry is spot on, and the juice a wonderful lime green lemon colour with terrific flavour. We are all starting to talk about a very special Semillon year.
We finished the Short Flat this morning, and across the road to Debeyers vineyard, which we lease, that finished today and hopefully tomorrow we can pick the 10 acres of Pokolbin Hills, and finish hand picking Semillon.
The nights this week have been a little bit mixed. Monday night picking Lost Block Semillon and HVD. Tuesday night some more Semillon from a contract grower, and last night we had just enough rain between 10pm and 11pm to leave the vines too wet to pick. So tonight it will be the rest of HVD Semillon and the rest of Penfold Chardonnay, and a few tonnes of HVD Pinot Noir that we left out to get really ripe. With the help of Neil Stevens’ machine harvester we should get across all that by 6am or 7am tomorrow morning. Despite a couple of delays it has been a very productive and successful week.
We will test the first Shiraz tomorrow to give us an indication of where the reds are, but I do not think we will pick too much until mid-week. The heat they forecast for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will hold up the ripeness, and we will see where we go after tomorrow’s tests. It is almost eerie that we have finished whites in basically two weeks, and if we keep the handpicking team we have got, and the reds were ripe, we would be finished then by the end of next week but we will see what next week brings.
So far we are all happy!
M Bruce Tyrrell AM