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Posts tagged ‘Vintage Report’

Vintage 2014: Heathcote

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, Ben’s final report takes us to far-flung Heathcote, a plane trip and a long car ride away in Victoria.

By Ben Perkins, Winemaker

heathcoteAfter a winter of moderate rainfall, the growing season remained mostly warm and dry. Frosts during flowering affected most of the region and low to very low yields were common in the reports coming from vintners. Luckily, our vineyard sits on the slopes of the Mount Camel Range at Colbinabbin and was spared the worst of the frost. The warm, dry conditions through the growing season and the extreme conditions in January and early February did pose threats of further crop loss. Good irrigation management and sufficient canopy length helped negate the worst of the effects. For the first time, we hand-picked a section of the vineyard, providing us with some further options for handling in the winery, including use of whole bunches and whole berries in the fermentation. The fruit was picked in good condition on March 15 and brought directly to our winery in the Barossa Valley for processing. At this early stage, the wine looks very solid.

As vintage slowly descends into the recesses of our minds, post-malo racking has begun in earnest. Suffice to say, it has been a rather interesting vintage and one which has, remarkably, turned out some excellent wines. I can’t wait to see how they turn out when we begin classification tasting in late August.

See these additional posts in the Vintage Report series:

Vintage 2014: Langhorne Creek

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 Langhorne Creek, 40 miles southeast of Adelaide.

By Ben Perkins, Winemakerben perkins

Good winter and early spring rainfall with some traditional flooding of the Bremer River provided the vines with some much-needed deep soil moisture, but Langhorne Creek was not spared the issues that afflicted much of the state during the early growing season. Strong winds during flowering and sporadic frosts caused yields to be slightly reduced. Langhorne Creek seemed to escape the worst of the January/February heatwave as the high temperatures were tempered by cooling afternoon breezes off Lake Alexandrina. Most of the heavy February rainfall passed north of the region, but the 20-30mm (0.8-1.2 inches) that did fall reinvigorated the vines. The cooler weather patterns that followed led to near perfect ripening conditions. The Shiraz was picked on March 20, slightly later than normal. At first assessment, quality is very high.

See these posts in the Vintage Report series:

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.

ClareValleymap

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:

Vintage 2014: McLaren Vale

truckRegionality 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 McLaren Vale, about 20 miles south of Adelaide.

By Ben Perkins, Winemaker

As with the Barossa, strong winds buffeted McLaren Vale during flowering, impacting on fruit set and thus reducing yields across the region. McLaren Vale suffered the same ill effects of the heat waves, with sufficient water supply and the risk of vines shutting down becoming the major concerns. Unlike the regions to the north of Adelaide, McLaren Vale received only 30-50mm (1.2-2 inches) of rain in mid-February. The mild weather that followed was the savior.

This year’s McLaren Vale Shiraz can best be described in two halves; the first intake of the earlier-ripening sites were full of delicate flavours and mild baumes; the second Shiraz intake, around mid-March, was more classic McLaren Vale, with big, luscious fruit profiles and plenty of bold front-palate power. Quality once again looks very strong across both Shiraz and Cabernet.

See these additional posts in the Vintage Report series:

Coming up next – Vintage 2014: Heathcote

Vintage 2014: Barossa Valley

thw_harvest4

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 the Barossa, the most famous Australian wine region and home to the Two Hands winery.

By Ben Perkins, Winemaker

What didn’t happen in the Barossa this season? Good winter rainfalls and above average early spring rainfalls set the vines up for a good season ahead. But as in 2013, late spring and summer rainfall was below average, requiring careful irrigation management. Persistent strong winds at flowering affected the fruit set and, in exposed sites, impacted shoot length. Early November was a near disaster in the areas north of Nuriootpa with severe frosts wiping out many vineyards in Ebenezer. Record heat and fires scorched the valley through mid-January to mid-February and then 80-100mm (3-4 inches) almost washed vintage away.

After the epic rain, vineyards were watched closely and carefully managed, as some displayed skin breakdown due to loss of cell structure in the skin as well as exposure during the heatwave. To make matters worse, many vineyards had to be protected from an increase in bird activity as many species migrated to the valley looking for some good food sources.

If anything, this season highlights how resilient the Barossa, its vines and the people who tend them can been. Remarkably, through all this, early assessments have shown quality to be very good to excellent, across all sub-regions and varieties. Cabernet in particular looks very strong. Interestingly, flavour ripeness was achieved at lower baumes in 2014. Expect Shiraz with more aromatic lift, delicate florals, spice finesse and tighter structure.

See these additional posts in the Vintage Report series: