It has been a long time since I have been able to say that we have had 2 sensational vintages in a row. Yes, 2012, 2013 and 2014 were all good years in terms of quality but during those years the vineyard struggled to produce yields that would keep the bank manager happy (far from it in fact). 2015 came along and at last we had the perfect mix of quality and quantity. Clearly in the agricultural game you live and breathe to an authority far greater than mere mortals, (aka Mother Nature) so we once again we crossed our fingers that MN would smile on us again in 2016. And she did.

In summary;

Flowering conditions in November were similar to 2015; close to perfect. Mild weather, not to cold, not to wet, not to windy. The infant bunches were able to get through probably the most important period all unscathed and really set us up for a bumper crop.

Ripening conditions. Perfect, as long as you had enough water and could ensure that you kept the leaves on the vines. The leaves, i.e. the canopy, is the engine room for the vines. This is where the plant gets all of the resources to pump in the wonderful berry flavours. Given the severe dry conditions (although not to hot which really saved us) it was hyper critical that we kept the water up to the vines. This is why you will see that our dam is bone dry. The dry conditions meant that we had little to no disease pressure and like 2015, we could simply let the vineyard do it’s thing.

Variety Conditions – I could simply re-write what I said for 2015. The dry conditions meant that everything pretty much came in at the same time so the biggest challenge was making room in the winery for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz, all on the same day. I would say, now that the fruit is all safely inside the barrel hall that 2016 will be a better year than 2015. The drier conditions, if managed with a strict watering programme, saw more intensity and flavour profile on all varieties compared to 2015.  The big red varieties in particular enjoyed the 2016 challenge with small to medium sized berries chock full of intense flavours. Across the board an extremely pleasing result.

Summary; Perfect. All varieties are showing great flavours, actually really intense flavours, mid strength alcohol levels and great tannin structures that will provide plenty of grunt on the back palate. This will be back to back well above average vintages both for the wine drinker and the vineyard grower. I better buy a lotto ticket.