2014 Vintage Report Edition 3 - from Bruce Tyrrell
Fri, January 24th 2014 / No comments
The change of climate and the Chardonnay is off. Saturday last we picked the last block of the Flat to go to Vat 47 giving us tonnes per acre across our own Chardonnay on the home block of just on 3 tonnes per acre. Saturday night we started picking the Chardonnay on Penfold Vale and for the first time in history of the vineyard, we may get to 13% alcohol.
On Sunday we sampled just about all the white that was left and we were still stuck in a dilemma of a little more sugar we wanted and a little less flavour. We had quiet days with our picking team Monday and Tuesday getting the 5.5 tonnes of Belford Chardonnay on Monday and picking 4.5 tonnes of Semillon of Neil Stevens'. The two nights were made up of Chardonnay from Penfold Vale and from Shee Oak. By Tuesday we were concerned about heavy rain at the end of the week. I decided we would finish Stevens Semillon and pick the Sign Post block Semillon on HVD as insurance. HVD/Sign Post picked 41 tonnes, which is its best crop for so many years and shows that the really old vines can weather tougher conditions than the younger ones. Hand pickers were enjoying the conditions, particularly in the latter part of the week as we had cloud cover back and no maximum temperatures over 30 degrees. Last Saturday was an example of changes in temperature that we can get here over 24 hours. The maximum was 39 degrees and minimum was 13 degrees.
The last two nights we have picked the bulk of our Verdelho and last night finished all of the Chardonnay for the vintage. All the Semillons were tested again yesterday and whilst the sugars are reasonable, we still don't have quite enough flavour and so the weekend is off and we will start picking Lost Block Semillon on Sunday night. We will test again on Sunday morning to decide whether we go to pick Vat 1 or Belford on Monday.
The first of the Pinot Noirs are being taken off skins today and I have just walked through the red fermentation area to be met by marvellous, complex, gamey Pinot Noir aroma. It is nice to taste Pinot with real character for a change. The first lot of reds of Shiraz are performing a bit the same as the whites; high sugars but no flavour or colour ripe for at least a week. Like the Chardonnay and Semillon, all the red fruit is in very good condition.
We are waiting on the change of some rain to come through tonight and a good storm will lay the dust, freshen up the vines and hopefully, get them producing flavour. I would like to have all the white finished by this time next week.
Total tonnage is over 500 tonnes.