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2024 Great Western Vintage Overview

Jacob Parton handsorting pinot with vintage team at Best's

The 2024 vintage was a challenging one. It was unexpectedly cool, and the fruit was ripening slowly, which is what we wanted, but then we experienced rolling heat spells. The heat would drop and pick up again week after week, making decision-making a critical part of our process and challenging us logistically. Things were moving very quickly.

 

Despite these difficulties, it was overall a good vintage—better than last year. The 2024 vintage fruit performed incredibly well across all our vineyards and varieties. It maintained plenty of natural acidity and excellent fruit flavours without sugar accumulation. The intermittent cooler weather meant we could make great wine without the high alcohol. Yet again, we will craft approachable and drinkable wines for which we are renowned. An exciting time for the team in the winery.

 

The standout this year was possibly the riesling and higher volumes give us lots of opportunity to add more 2024 rieslings into our collection. We harvested over 100 tonnes of riesling compared to 30-40 tonnes last vintage. We make three styles of riesling at Best’s, and the amount of fruit this vintage means we can bring back the House Block Riesling, a wine we know customers enjoy. This sweeter style of riesling is also my personal favourite. I look forward to creating the House Block 2024 vintage alongside our Great Western Riesling and Foudre Ferment style. Both of our Foudre barrels are full. We only had one Austrian barrel for our last Foudre Ferment Riesling. With two barrels, I can see how the fruit from each site ferments. This bumper crop of riesling means we can examine the nuances and flavour structures between fruit from different vineyards and allocate different parcels to specific wines. You can only blend things so far when you have a small amount to work with but this year there’s lots of pristine fruit to work with.

The Great Western chardonnay and our white wines generally experienced slower ripening, delivering great natural balance and flavour. We had enough chardonnay fruit this year to use our new 228 litre Louis Latour oak barrel. This 2024 vintage Chardonnay will exhibit older style Best’s vintage characteristics as our last vintage was too small to put through this oak.

Vintages vary; good years follow bad years, but the pinot noir and pinot meunier in our vineyards bucked that trend this year. They’re both looking terrific. They’re packed away in barrels and ageing gracefully. The first tastings look promising, and I can’t wait to see how these wines evolve.

Our second regional variety after riesling is shiraz, and it looks extremely good as it sits aging in our cellar while our cabernet sauvignon was the last to go to press.

The wine that stands out from the 2024 vintage is our White Gravel Hills (WGH) Shiraz. The cooler climate and slower ripening meant the WGH Shiraz vineyard produced beautiful pepper and spice characters. Alongside the new release of the White Gravels Hill Shiraz, we will blend a 2024 Bin No. 0 Shiraz with fruit from the 1966 Shiraz, 1970 Shiraz and White Gravels Hill block.

It’s exciting times, and I look forward to reporting back on how these wines evolve as we nurture them in barrels and bottle them for our customers to enjoy.

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