Vintage 2014: Clare Valley
Regionality is the driving force behind Two Hands Wines. It gives rise to the Garden Series, an unprecedented portfolio of Australian Shiraz consisting of a wine from each of six distinct regions. As the winery says, “One grape variety, one vintage, one winemaker – soils and climate are the only way of differentiation.” Making great wine from such disparate regions – the Barossa (Bella’s), McLaren Vale (Lily’s), Clare Valley (Samantha’s), Langhorne Creek (Harry & Edward’s), Padthaway (Sophie’s) and Heathcote (Max’s) – is a daunting but exhilarating task that gives the Two Hands team a unique perspective on wine growing in Australia each vintage. With that in mind, Winemaker Ben Perkins has put together a series of reports on the recently completed 2014 growing season. Today the focus is on Clare Valley, an hour-and-a-half’s drive north of the Two Hands winery in the Barossa.
By Ben Perkins, Winemaker
Good winter and early spring rains put growers in a buoyant mood heading into the growing season. Unfortunately, warmer and drier conditions through November, December and early January meant irrigation top-ups were essential. A burst of heat and hot north winds in the week leading up to Christmas put stress on our Watervale Riesling and, subsequently, we experienced some sunburn damage. Clare was not immune from the extreme temperatures that followed in January and February. Out of all our regions where we source grapes, Clare received the highest rainfall with 100-150mm (4-6 inches) falling in the space of 24-36 hours. Our Clare vintage concluded in early April when a late burst of warm weather finally pushed Malbec through to flavour ripeness. Yields were down in many Shiraz vineyards but quality, at this early stage, appears to be excellent.
See these additional posts in the Vintage Report series: