Making wine is not like making beer or gin where the raw materials are pretty consistent. Much like 2014, the 2015 vintage proved that nature still very much has the upper hand! Devastating frosts in October destroyed much of the production in the vineyard used in 2014 so we moved to another site that I know well in Ebenezer. On a stretch of dirt famed for growing fruit of Grange quality, what it lacked in age it made up for in quality and intensity. Working alongside a young grower, the fruit quality is high and the land on which he farms is old, embued with history, spirituality and romance.
Almost a year to the day after the frosts of October 2013, Barossa was once again hit by devastating frosts that severely reduced the yields in many north western Barossa vineyards. Thereafter, the season continued well with a dry spring which resulted in consistently good fruit set. November and December were cool and this pattern was only briefly punctuated by a burst of heat over the New Year period which had people thinking back to the 14 days of plus 40 heat last year. Thankfully, January continued with cooler weather, some 2 degrees cooler than normal. Predictions at this time seemed to suggest a normal or even late harvest. Steady, though not extreme, heat saw ripening accelerate to the extent that by the middle of February, there was a mad rush to harvest fruit right across the McLaren Vale and Barossa. With every winery full and fruit ready to go, there were more than a few stressed winemakers and grape growers.
We hand-picked our fruit in the early morning of February 19th, a good few days before the rest of the vineyard was picked. This was intentional as we wanted to retain freshness and energy in the wine.
The grapes were rapidly transferred to the winery where 40% of the bunches were left intact and the balance gently de-stemmed. After a couple of days of pre-fermentation maceration, the natural fermentation began and was accompanied by two hand plunges a day to gently extract colour and tannin.
When fermentation was complete, the wine was left on skins (and stems) for another 5 days before transferring to French oak (50% new puncheons) where it completed malolactic fermentation and 18 months of maturation.
The resulting wine exhibits a dense yet succulent, spicy blackberry fruit with hints of woodsmoke and tobacco. More powerful than the 2014, yet still carries the linear thread of complex texture and fine tannins that ensure that this wine has a very bright future and an extremely enjoyable present!
Quantity Produced : 1050 bottles