As much needed rain begins to replenish some very thirsty vines, it is a good time to take stock of our vintage thus far, and assess what we have in tank, in barrel and hopefully, soon in bottle!
The 2009 vintage began, as usual, with the intake of white fruit. Semillon. However this year we were a week later than in 2008.
What's more interesting, in 2008 we harvested Sauvignon Blanc on the 4th March, and this year our Sauvignon Blanc was harvested on the 24th March! No need to point out the impact of climatic variations and terroir there.
The whites were finished before the reds, thankfully, as this gave us some room to breathe in the cellar, and a chance to concentrate on finessing, what appears to be a fantastic year for whites.
The longer, and somewhat cooler ripening period, allowed for a slower maturation of fruit on the vine. This in turn correlated the development of intensely varietal flavours and very desirable sugars.
They say the definition of a premium fruit is, clean, disease free and reaching optimal ripeness. Well we hit 3/3 there and then some.
The Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc are both intensely aromatic and have a wealth of palate weight, depth and complexity. Not usually a commonality in these varieties, but in dry grown conditions, things just seem to behave better!
The Riesling is yet again a stellar performer, and is a reflection of this unique region. Exhibiting chalk, mineral, lime and passion fruit, this much maligned variety is a stand out, serious wine.
The Reserve Chardonnay and Reserve Semillon are everything you want in a Reserve. Big, Rich, Bold, and Oaked! Keep and eye out for these gladiators.
The reds began and finished on the 20th April. In 2008 the first reds were taken on the 28th March. Again quite a difference in ripening, and im sure the polar bears would have something to say about that!
A reduction in yields this year signified an improved development of flavours on the vine and in the tank.
All the reds showed surprising colour density upon crushing, and this was translated in the fermenters with an immediate intensity in colour and fullness in flavour.
The Shiraz was magnificent from the get-go, with a persistent redolence of white pepper in the air, which has transmigrated to the wine and is showing all the promise in emerging as a BIG red!
The Merlot was the sublime performer. As is it is so often overshadowed by the cabernets and Shiraz's, it has been a treat to see it develop into an elegant capacious style. Still waiting some oak time, this wine will beckon the tender mercies of time.
Finally the Cabernet Sauvignon. Another Galafrey stalwart and another impressive year. Pushing the fruit a little longer on the vine, has rewarded us with a robust and pugnacious red that will relish the time it only deserves in new French oak.
So now, unlike another known distillery, it's not time for chess and checkers! But a march to get the early releases out there, and lay down the reds for further maturation.
If vintage so far is anything to go by, then I can positively say we are all in for some pleasant afternoons relaxing with a glass of 09.