Vintage 2011 - UpdateTuesday, 19 July 2011
Although many scribes are trying to write off 2011, owing to the cooler and wetter than usual conditions, it is fair to say that ripening was key and my current assessment is that 2011 will eventually yield some beautiful elegant examples of what this region is famous for.
Many vineyards were under pressure from fungal disease early on in the season but all the fruit sourced for the château was in remarkable clean condition owing to some extreme vigilance in the Vineyard.
Reminiscent of 2002 and 2005 which were both cool climate vintages, 2011 is already showing similar characters and depth of flavour and I would expect to see a common theme of elegance and subtlety from 2011.
In reality the beauty of being a Barossa winemaker is that each year will be different – the warmer years producing more robust, fruit forward characters whereas in the cooler years delicacy and finesse. But ultimately purity of fruit and varietal expressive characters will consistently shine through year after year.
Shiraz as always is a solid trouper and this year sees no evidence of over ripe characters – Good varietal flavours and silky tannins.
Standout of 2011 – It simply loves to express itself during cooler vintages and this could well be a classic year for Cabernet.
Higher altitude Riesling with its piercing minerality and citrus fruit are a real treat.
Semillon – Pinot Grigio
Picked early to capture freshness whilst maintaining varietal integrity - Semillon and Pinot Grigio have a lovely floral lift and crisp acidic spine as a result.
Of Particular note
Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Graciano, Merlot, Primitivo and Malbec. These small parcels are now tucked away in oak and show incredible promise either to add depth and complexity to blends or perhaps released on their own.
Over a period of time there has been an oak evolution in our cellar. Our continual aim and focus is to tailor our barrel profiles to each parcel of fruit we source and our extensive barrel programme continues to shed new light on balancing all of our wines with a perfectly matched oak profile.
From our mainly American oak beginnings we continue to use more French oak, along with mainly older oak, so as not to impart barrel flavours at the expense of our finished wines. We much prefer to frame our wines rather than dominate them with oak.
Regardless of the vagaries – the expressive diversity of the Barossan fruit is certainly not lost – 2011 will be all about elegance and subtlety.