The 2014 vintage has finally arrived at Great Western, with beautiful clear warm days and cool nights ideal for ripening. During the last week and a half we have received our Old Clone Pinot Noir, Old Vine Pinot Meunier, House Block Riesling and Great Western Chardonnay. The yields are definitely down this year (up to 60%) due to the cold spring during budburst and flowering and the heat wave in January, but the quality of fruit we are getting is excellent. They are very small bunches but with great concentration of flavour and high balancing acidity. The Old Clone Pinot Noir looks particularly good, a just reward for the time spent on canopy management and crop thinning.
We hand-picked the Old Clone Pinot Noir and Old Vine Pinot Meunier last week which isn't the most comfortable thing to do. These old vines are much shorter in stature meaning a lot of crouching is required to pick the grapes. This fruit was then hand-sorted to ensure only the best berries made it into the fermenter. This gave us a great opportunity to really look at the quality and bunch sizes too.
We have a great crew this year with Alessio (who was here in 2012) from Abruzzo, Italy providing ample latin passion. Then there is Kim from Northern Ireland and Hugo from Bordeaux in France adding some western European flair, and the local stalwarts of Andy, Leanne, Simon, Hadyn and Nicole providing the solid game winning backline. All are enthusiastically giving lots of love and attention to our potential 2014 wines!
This week sees the remainder of the Riesling being picked and the start of our Shiraz harvest. The Shiraz is looking really good too with modestly spoken Viv Thomson even saying it ‘...could be a good year for Shiraz'. Viv believes the small bunches and berries will have great concentration and result in a complex yet balanced wine.
That's all from us at the moment. I better head back out into the vineyard to check on our Thomson Family Shiraz which is scheduled to be picked on Friday.