2019 Vintage Report from Bruce Tyrrell – Edition 2

Wed, January 30th 2019  /   No Comment

This seems like a month ago.  We are sitting quietly waiting for something to happen.  We have done a full test on all of the remaining Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Semillon and nothing much has changed since the last test and nothing is really ripe.  Picking delayed until Thursday, and we will then take the first Semillon of the year.

We picked Pokolbin Hills Semillon by hand on Thursday, 24 January, and the Chardonnay and Hill block by machine that night.  The Semillon is first rate, and by the look of the Chardonnay there certainly will be a Vat 63 out of 2019. Extreme heat has backed off for the next few days so we will get going pretty much continuously until all of the white is off.  The heat expected over this last weekend “Saturday got to 42 degrees” is starting to knock the vines about, but on the other side of that the acid still remain quite good and the sugars are not rising at any great rate.  I doubt if there will be any white of the alcohol levels of 2018, but the flavours are more advanced.  Had my first look at Gamay at “Loggerheads” this morning, which we ended up picking on Monday with almost perfect chemistry, and a bit more than last year so there should be around 140 dozen.  Also on Thursday we got our second young Australian on the picking team.

On Friday, 25 January we moved the picking team into the Pinot Noir here at Ashman’s and got the lot so it leaves only the Pinot Noir and HVD to pick, and it is three or four days work.  Like all Pinot Noir we will wait until its cleaned up after ferment to see how good it is.  Started Stevens Semillon tonight, which we hoped to clean up in two shifts which we did with a bit of help from one of our harvesters.  Typical Stevens fine, elegant and certainly up there with the Pokolbin Hills quality wise.  Had our first really big night on the 25 January with the Stevens Semillon “the steroids block” on HVD, plus 35 tonnes of contract winemaking (Semillon).  It was well into the next day by the time it was all processed.

On the 26th made a start on the flat for Vat 47 picking the Old Vines, the Well block and the Three Wires before the heat chased us out at 11.30am.  This was all basket pressed and all things being equal we will finish all of 47 on Tuesday and Wednesday.  We had Sunday off from picking so went for a drink at Andrew Thomas’ to celebrate Australia Day.  Monday morning we tested Semillon and Pinot Noir from HVD and decided where to start picking midnight Monday night.  Today we have got two nights of machine picking left, and about another 7 or 8 days of hand picking white.  We will test everything during the day today, but from the vineyard side Johnno’s Semillon and Belford look like coming off first.  This week looks a little cooler than last the difference between 35 or 36 degrees and 40+ degrees.  We have been held up in picking by having to get the pickers out before midday because of the heat and so we are losing 1 ½ to 2 hours picking time every day.  Pending on the results of today’s test we may have to look at a third picking team to get across the country quick enough.

No real rain on the horizon perhaps a storm later in the week and as long as we only get 4 or 5 mls it will have little impact on the fruit except to freshen the vines up.  A bit over a week and the white is done.  I almost forgot, Saturday morning we picked 5 ½ tonnes of Tempranillo from Deasys Road, which is being made into high end Rose as the vines are a bit too young for red.


Bruce Tyrrell

Leave a comment