2016 Tyrrell’s Vintage Report - Edition 6…from Bruce Tyrrell
Fri, February 26th 2016 / No comments
A much quieter week. We finished picking the Hunter on Monday with Shiraz from DeBeyers, the Old Hut and the 8 Acres. Our concern for the few days up until Monday was to get through without any real rain as the berries were starting to shrivel and these three vineyard blocks needed the extra days to get just enough flavour ripeness. The overall quality of the Hunter red vintage is a lot better than we thought it would be three or four weeks ago but it is still a bit early to tell exactly what we will have out of the vintage at the top end. There will certainly be Vat 8 and Vat 9; Johnno’s looks very good but the rest we will need to see when malolactic is over. I checked on some back vintages and we finished within a one or two in the Hunter of the 2009 vintage, but Heathcote, where the last grapes will be picked on Sunday night, will be a full month earlier than in 2009, which shows that the impact on climate is not Australia wide, it is regionally based.
Heathcote started picking at the end of last week. We handpicked some whole fruit through Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. This handpicked fruit will be distributed through the fermenters of machine harvested to get a bit more tannin and a bit more richness. Just as we started to pick in Heathcote, the sugar levels jumped and 2016 Rufus Stone will be more like 14.5% alcohol - the fruit is all clean and in good condition. The last to be picked will be about 20 tonnes from our next door neighbour that will come from his new plantings of the Tabilk Shiraz clone. We will make this on its own and see how that differs from the Wood Duck Dam clone on our own property.
Heathcote looks like being exactly on budget, with our own property picking just over 2 tonnes to the acre. We have some Grenache and Shiraz to make from McLaren Vale toward the end of next week and then we are probably two weeks away from starting at St Mary’s (down next to Coonawarra).
Some interesting statistics – January was the wettest on record, ahead of 1972; and February looks like being the driest on record, after 1972. If the whites turn out to be as good as 1972, I will be very happy, because I have always reckoned that Vat 1 Semillon 1972 is the greatest Tyrrell wine I have ever tasted.